Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

NY Times: IRS Admits Black Americans Face More Audit Scrutiny

New York Times, I.R.S. Acknowledges Black Americans Face More Audit Scrutiny:

AuditThe Internal Revenue Service said on Monday that Black taxpayers have been far more likely to be audited than others and that it is considering changes to its case selection process to address discrimination in how the tax code is enforced.

The acknowledgment came after the publication of research this year showing that Black taxpayers were disproportionately audited, prompting calls from members of Congress for a review into the methodology and algorithms that help determine who is selected. The tax collection agency, which received an $80 billion infusion in funding last year as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, has said it would work to make the system more equitable.

“While there is a need for further research, our initial findings support the conclusion that Black taxpayers may be audited at higher rates than would be expected given their share of the population,” Daniel Werfel, the I.R.S. commissioner, wrote in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Mr. Werfel said the I.R.S. had dedicated “significant resources” to determine the reasons for the disparity and evaluating the data that is available to the agency when deciding who to audit and its automated processes. He suggested that the I.R.S. could consider basing audits on “broader tax issues” rather than focusing on people who might be improperly claiming earned-income tax credits.

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