October 17, 2019
According to this article in ProPublica.com, the IRS audits the working poor at about the same rate it does the wealthiest one percent. When lawmakers confronted IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the focus on low-income taxpayers, the agency was refreshingly candid: it “can’t change anything unless it is given more money.”
Last year, 380,000 audits — or about 39 percent of the total — were conducted on low-income taxpayers who claim the earned income tax credit. The most heavily audited county in the country was Humphreys County, Miss., where a third of the residents are below the poverty line.
The IRS can use relatively low-level employees to audit those returns, whereas it “takes senior auditors hours upon hours to complete an exam” of a richer taxpayer’s return. The agency says the practice is the most efficient use of available IRS examination resources.
In other words, it’s easier and cheaper to audit the poor.