Chart of the Day: Audits of Rich People Plummeted Last Year

Never let it be said that rich people don’t get their money’s worth from the Republicans they vote for:

This comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reports the following by way of explanation:

Audits of the highest-income households dropped sharply, to their lowest levels since the IRS began reporting that data in 2008. In fiscal 2018, the IRS audited 6.66% of returns of filers with more than $10 million in adjusted gross income, down from 14.52% in 2017.

….The IRS released the data as it is trying to persuade Congress to make long-run investments in the agency’s technology and enforcement staff. So far, however, key Republicans in Congress remain skeptical, and there are mixed signals about whether the government will reverse the steady decline in tax enforcement. “I’m not averse to beefing up their budget a little bit but I want to see results,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R., La.), who heads the subcommittee that oversees the IRS budget. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in the new commissioner and in the new secretary, but I’m not into just throwing money at the wall because the bureaucracy says we need more.”

….Many of the recent changes have stemmed from Republican spending cuts after they took control of the House in 2011 and after the IRS said in 2013 that it had improperly scrutinized some conservative nonprofit groups. Adjusted for inflation, the 2019 IRS budget is smaller than in 2000 and is 19% below peak funding in 2010….The number of examiners that performs audits shrunk 38% from 2010 to 2017.

“Key Republicans in Congress remain skeptical.” Ha ha ha. Good one. Needless to say, reducing the IRS enforcement budget and its number of auditors has been the whole point of Republican policy toward the IRS over the past couple of decades. Rich people are unhappy when they get audited, and we can’t have that, can we?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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