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IRS aims to more than double its audit rate on wealthiest taxpayers

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Internal Revenue Commissioner Danny Werfel speaks during his swearing in ceremony at the IRS on April 4, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bonnie Cash/Getty Images)

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The IRS has released an update on its strategic operating plan, which outlines “major accomplishments” in taxpayer service, technology and enforcement since its infusion of funding less than two years ago.

Emphasizing key focus areas, the agency on Thursday highlighted the need for sustained funding, including a $104 billion proposal to extend Inflation Reduction Act funding through fiscal year 2034.

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The agency also renewed its focus on “tax fairness” with plans to increase audits on the wealthiest taxpayers, large corporations and complex partnerships.

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“This update also reflects our ongoing effort to make sure we focus compliance resources where they need to be,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel told reporters on a press call.

The IRS aims to more than double the audit rate for the wealthiest taxpayers with total positive income of more than $10 million by tax year 2026. This would bring the audit rate for these individuals to 16.5% in 2026, compared to 11% in 2019.

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The agency also plan to “nearly triple audit rates” on large corporations with assets over $250 million and boost audit rates “by tenfold” for large, complex partnerships with assets over $10 million, Werfel said.

“At the same time, the IRS continues to emphasize the agency will not increase audit rates for small businesses and taxpayers making under $400,000,” he said. “And those remain at historically low levels.”

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During fiscal year 2023, the IRS closed nearly 583,000 tax return audits, resulting in $31.9 billion in recommended additional tax, according to the latest Databook.

For all returns filed from 2013 through 2021, the IRS examined 0.44% of individual returns and 0.74% of corporate returns as of the end of fiscal year 2023.

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