TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, February 23, 2017

IRS Audit Rate Of Individuals (0.7%), Businesses (0.5%) Falls To 10+ Year Lows Due To Budget Cuts

Audit (2016)Wall Street Journal, IRS Audits of Individuals Drop for Fifth Straight Year:

U.S. tax audits of individuals declined for the fifth straight year in 2016 to reach the lowest level since 2003, showing the effects of budget cuts at the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS, which has lost 30% of its enforcement staffing since the 2010 peak, audited 0.7% of tax returns in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to preliminary data released Wednesday. That means the IRS audited roughly 1 in every 143 individual tax returns, down from 1 in 90 back in 2010.

Audits declined even for the high-income households that have been an enforcement priority for the IRS. In 2016, the agency audited 5.83% of returns with income over $1 million, down from 9.55% in 2015 and marking the lowest audit rate for that income group since 2008.

Business audits also dropped in 2016. Overall, the IRS audited 0.49% of business tax returns, the lowest level since 2004. The IRS audited 6,453 large corporations, those with assets exceeding $10 million. Four years earlier, the agency audited more than 10,000.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/02/irs-audit-rate-of-individuals-07-businesses-05-fell-to-10-year-lows-due-to-budget-cuts-.html

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Comments

These low audit rates are a feature, not a bug, to the GOP

Posted by: AppleDave | Feb 23, 2017 11:54:41 AM

Boy, that's a shame.

I might be concerned if the tax gap grew at the same time, but so far there's been no update on it from the IRS. Wouldn't put it past the agency to plead poverty as an excuse not to release the latest data...

Posted by: MM | Feb 23, 2017 1:39:47 PM

Mr. MM: What, exactly would be the motivation for "plead[ing] poverty as an excuse to release the latest data?" Do you think the employees get to keep any budget surplus? Childish.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Feb 24, 2017 7:18:21 PM

The IRS is nothing more than the collections muscle for the Federal Reserve. Bunch of criminal thugs.

Posted by: Pontus | Feb 24, 2017 10:38:41 PM

If only we could elect a government in which people who believed in enforcing immigration law could enforce immigration law and people who believed in enforcing tax law could enforce tax law. Each party's large donors seem to favor non-enforcement in one realm or the other as a way to change the law covertly.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Feb 25, 2017 12:38:31 PM