Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen — who is she “yellin'” at anyway? — promised on Wednesday that the Internal Revenue Service audit rates for Americans making less than $400,000 a year wouldn’t increase.
That sounds like great news, right?
Well, that’s not entirely accurate. There’s a catch. I mean, isn’t there consistency for the federal government, particularly the IRS?
According to The Daily Wire, the catch is that the rate of audits wouldn’t increase according to “historic levels,” which are substantially higher than the current levels.
This is a prime example of the radical left in positions of power using and abusing the use of language to trick folks into thinking the IRS isn’t up to something dirty and underhanded with the sudden massive stockpiling of ammo and hiring of 87,000 employees.
Never trust someone who works for the government.
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The Biden administration official’s promise comes as the Inflation Reduction Act — a $740 billion proposal that includes $80 billion for the IRS to hire 87,000 more employees — advances through Congress. In a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, Yellen argued that the funding would help the IRS “improve taxpayer service” and “increase equity in the tax system” rather than allow the agency to target middle-income Americans.
“I direct that any additional resources — including any new personnel or auditors that are hired — shall not be used to increase the share of small business or households below the $400,000 threshold that are audited relative to historical levels,” Yellen told Rettig. “This means that, contrary to the misinformation from opponents of this legislation, small business or households earning $400,000 per year or less will not see an increase in the chances that they are audited.”
Yellen failed to mention, however, that “historical levels” of audits were significantly higher as recently as one decade ago. According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, audit rates for Americans earning between $25,000 to $200,000 fell 76% between 2010 and 2019, while those earning less than $25,000 saw audit rates fall by 61%. Taxpayers earning between $200,000 and $500,000 — representing those at the upper end of the Biden administration’s vow to not raise taxes for those earning less than $400,000 — saw a 92% decline in audits.
The report stated that officials from the IRS “attributed the overall decline in audit rates to decreased funding, and therefore reduced staffing to conduct audits” which are constraints that are addressed in the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Another report from the Congressional Budget Office based on an earlier proposal to hire 87,000 new IRS agents found that audit rates “would rise for all taxpayers,” even as higher-income taxpayers “face the largest increase.” According to Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee, the new agents would be capable of carrying out 1.2 million more individual audits per year, with nearly half impacting Americans earning less than $75,000,”
Yellen, despite leaving some wiggle room for higher audit rates depending on the “historical levels,” went on to make the argument that information technology updates that will be funded by the legislation would inevitably aid Americans in ducking audits in the first place.
“The result of this resource infusion will be a lower likelihood of audit by an agency that has the data and technological infrastructure in place to target enforcement resources where they belong—on the high end of the income distribution, where the top 1% alone is estimated to not be paying $160 billion in owed taxes each year,” Yellen went on to write. “That’s important as a matter of revenue-raising, but it’s also essential as a matter of fairness.”
During the 2021 fiscal year, the IRS — the bane of human existence for those of us who call America home — had a total of 79,000 full-time workers, according to the agency, which also revealed that it operates on a budget of $13.7 billion.
She then referenced a letter Rettig addressed to congressional lawmakers just a week ago where he promised that the agency would not use the new 87,000 employees it’s planning to hire to target taxpayers by “increasing audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans.”
“As an extremely proud American, I’m grateful for your support of the IRS and our dedicated employees,” Rettig stated. “I cannot be forceful enough in emphasizing that these resources will be transformative for the agency and for American taxpayers.”
The IRS has targeted conservatives in the past as it was seemingly used by folks within the Obama administration attempting to help former President Barack Obama along in his second run for president.
So Yellen will have to forgive us for not trusting her or the IRS on this matter.