Letter to the Editor: Will a beefed-up IRS come after you?

Published 8:43 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Maybe, if your household makes over $400,000 annually and you don’t pay the taxes you owe on that comfortable income.

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides $80 billion over a decade for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The funding will allow the IRS to bring the agency’s technology into the 21st Century and hire replacements for retiring workers as well as new workers.

The IRS hasn’t been able to provide adequate service to taxpayers. They could answer fewer than one in ten calls for help from Americans filing taxes in 2021. As late as this August 2022, more than one million 2021 returns had not yet been processed, delaying refunds owed to many taxpayers.

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Without the necessary technology and manpower, the IRS has not been able to collect what is owed by the wealthiest one percent. The Treasury Department estimates a tax gap of $163 billion PER YEAR from those who can most afford to pay up.

The IRS is not coming after you. Trump-appointed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig confirmed on Aug. 4 that “audit scrutiny” would not be raised on middle-class families or small businesses and that “resources [will] go toward enforcement against those with the highest incomes.”

On Aug. 10, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen directed the IRS that “audit rates will not rise relative to recent years for households making under $400,000 annually” and that “enforcement resources will focus on high-end noncompliance.”

As a nation of laws, we fund those responsible for law enforcement, including our police and the IRS. We provide for the common good through taxation, to do the work of the people. The Inflation Reduction Act will close a huge gap as billionaires and corporations pay their fair share.

Christine DeVries

Preston, MN