Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Los Angeles Times: 23,000 Households Reported Income Over $10 million Last Year. The IRS Audited Seven, by Michael Hiltzik:
[L]et’s take a moment to contemplate how tax avoidance and evasion have become facts of life for some of the richest Americans.
They’ve done so with the connivance of our lawmakers, who have tied the hands of the Internal Revenue Service. The latest analysis of the situation came to us last week from David Cay Johnston, a journalist who has made the inequities of the income tax into a personal cause.
Here’s the most eye-opening statistic. Some 23,456 U.S. households reported income of $10 million or more last year (that is, for the 2018 tax year), averaging more than $26 million each in taxable income. The IRS audited seven of them.
That comes to less than three-hundredths of a percent. That’s about the chance of being struck by lightning at some point in your lifetime. So it may not be surprising that wealthy taxpayers don’t think they’re living dangerously with the IRS. ...
Congress and a succession of White House administrations — on both sides of the aisle — have systematically gutted the auditing and enforcement capabilities of the IRS. In 2010, the agency had 94,700 full-time staff and a budget of $14.7 billion. By the last fiscal year it was down to 73,554 full-timers and a budget of only $11.8 billion.