The IRS keeping audit statistics secret; covering up higher audit rates of the poor than the rich

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which provides data on Federal “enforcement, staffing, and spending,” reported in March of this year that IRS data obtained through FOIA requests showed that audit rates for low income Americans were higher than the rates of tax audits for wealthy Americans, representing a significant change:

Restricting the comparison to the agency’s comprehensive face-to-face audits, taxpayers reporting less than $25,000 in total positive income were six times more likely to be audited than those reporting $200,000 or more in income.

Following that report, the IRS claimed that its own official statistics were incorrect. But the IRS has resisted turning over relevant statistics for over two and half years and continues to resist releasing this information in defiance of a judicial order (link will reflect newer developments as they occur). These are statistics that until recently were released as a matter of course. The more information trickles out, the clearer it is that IRS has shifted its audit policies and has begun giving wealthy Americans a free pass while targeting lower income people. But there is still a significant portion of its audit statistics – statistics released regularly by the IRS in former times – that apparently it feels it can’t afford to release to the public. The fight continues.