Thursday, February 23, 2017
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.