by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Poor people faced a significantly higher chance in 2022 of being audited by President Joe Biden’s IRS than both rich and middle-class earners, according to a Syracuse University study.
In fact, no group faced as much scrutiny from the IRS as those who made below $25,000, the university’s data-gathering center found. Among families that benefited from the earned income tax credit, a rebate on income and payroll taxes made available to the nation’s poorest families, 1.27 percent were audited. The IRS in 2022 audited just 0.19 percent of the vast majority of taxpayers, meaning the poorest families were at least 550 percent more likely to have the IRS knock on their door than the average filer.
These families were also more likely to receive a regular audit by the IRS than families that reported over $1 million in income, of which just over 1 percent faced regular audits. In total, the IRS audited a total 626,204 taxpayers out of more than 164 million in the 2022 fiscal year. The bulk of those audits were of filers in the lowest income group.
The new data raise questions about the IRS’s auditing strategy as it stands to benefit from $80 billion in new funding that the Biden administration plans to use for new hires. Republicans have alleged that despite White House promises to the contrary, middle-class and poor Americans will face more audits due to the 87,000 new IRS employees the agency plans to hire.
The agency does not publicly disclose its auditing data. Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan data gathering and distribution organization, went to court to obtain the information through a Freedom of Information Act request. How the IRS decides exactly whom it will audit is largely a mystery.