A new study by Syracuse University shows that the lowest-income Americans are five and a half times more likely to be audited than every other income group. So about that tax-the-rich bit that politicians like to shout about? It’s not real.
The University asked former IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to publish audit data but he ignored the request. The University then filed a freedom of information request in order to get this data. They found that people with over $1 million in assets were slightly more likely to be audited in 2022, up by 2.8% from the previous year. Still, the risk of audit is far higher for low-income earners, recipients of the earned income credit.
The IRS has repeatedly said that they are low staffed so they now rely on what they call “correspondence audits.” These are sort of shots across the bow letters asking taxpayers for more information or money. The study concludes that low-income earners are targeted by these “because they 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.”