The IRS lives in infamy in America, alongside the similarly loathed DMV and trips to the dentist, and it’s only getting worse.
The Internal Revenue Service is the quintessential and archetypal example of all that’s wrong with our federal government, growing ever more bloated and expansive while also being responsible for collecting the money necessary to fuel this evolution.
Now, what’s even more disheartening is a new report that suggests the IRS is targeting low-income Americans for audits at a disproportionate rate.
On Wednesday, Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) released data provided to it by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on audits performed by the agency in fiscal year 2022. Despite the infusion of new funding earmarked for the IRS via last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, the agency continued historic trends of hassling primarily low-income taxpayers, with relatively few millionaires and billionaires getting caught up in the audit sweep.
“The taxpayer class with unbelievably high audit rates—five and a half times virtually everyone else—were low-income wage-earners taking the earned income tax credit,” reported TRAC, noting that the poorest taxpayers are “easy marks in an era when IRS increasingly relies upon correspondence audits yet doesn’t have the resources to assist taxpayers or answer their questions.”
In fact, “if one ignores the fiction of auditing a millionaire through simply sending a letter through the mail, the odds that millionaires received a regular audit by a revenue agent (1.1%) was actually less than the audit rate of the targeted lowest income wage-earners whose audit rate was 1.27 percent!”
This is precisely the sort of behavior that our political predecessors warned us about, and if we can’t hold the IRS accountable then it’s time to elect someone who will.