Despite a Treasury direction and White House denials, the IRS will use $79 billion from Congress to audit Americans earning under $400,000.
New IRS audits of taxpayers reporting under $400,000 should add $4 billion to the federal piggy bank, a Congressional Budget Office letter reveals.
The Daily Caller further reported:
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Aug. 10 directed the IRS to not use the $79 billion funding increase granted to the organization in the Inflation Reduction Act to increase the “share of small business or households below the $400,000 threshold that are audited relative to historical levels.” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters “No. Very Clear. No.” when asked if there would be new audits on “anyone” making less than $400,000 per year, and Yellen herself said that “small business[es] or households making less than $400,000 per year will not see an increase in the chances that they are audited,” in the directive’s announcement.
However, the CBO now expects that new auditing efforts targeting individuals making less than $400,000 per year will partially account for $4 billion of $180 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, alongside reduced administrative costs, according to a letter containing updated revenue projections written by CBO Director Phillip Swagel. This expectation accounts for Yellen’s directive, with the CBO estimating that if the Inflation Reduction Act had included language prohibiting new audits on those reporting less than $400,000, the IRS would expect about $4 billion less in revenue than if it only followed Yellen’s directive.
“Some taxpayers reporting income of less than $400,000 on their tax return, for whom the proposed amendment would have barred audits using the new funding, will be found to have more income than they reported—in some cases, income greater than $400,000—if they are audited,” said the CBO, clearly stating that the IRS is expected to use “new funding” for the purpose of auditing additional taxpayers.
Heritage Foundation economist EJ Antoni stressed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that new funding could still be used for enforcement activity that isn’t auditing, such as document matching. The letter also noted that without Yellen’s directive, which Antoni noted is not a law and could be changed at any time by the director or a potential replacement, the amount of revenue generated from audits could jump as high as $20 billion.
IRS spokesman Anthony Burke declined to comment over the phone on the CBO director’s letter, and did not immediately respond to a DCNF email containing follow-up questions. IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino referred the DCNF to an Aug. 16 statement by IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig that did not contain any comments about auditing.
Many taxpayers hope the agency follows its stated intention to use the $79 billion to “pursue meaningful, impactful examinations of large corporate and high-net worth taxpayers to ensure they are paying their fair share.”
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