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Tipsheet

Surprise: New Data Shows IRS Disproportionately Targets Non-Rich for Scrutiny, Audits

Let's recall a few things together.  First, Democrats' first major party-line 'accomplishment' under the Biden administration was the so-called American Rescue Plan in 2021, which was extremely wasteful and profoundly inflationary -- which even leading Democratic economists warned about (one expert suggested yesterday that the US may not fully recover on the inflation front for another two-to-three years).  Buried in that mammoth spending bill was a provision that drastically lowered the threshold for financial transactions that must be reported to the government:

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If you use third-party payment platforms, like PayPal, Venmo or Cash App, to collect payments for your side gig or business, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants to remind you to report payments of at least $600. This rule is aimed at individuals who run a side hustle, small business or do part-time work...Before 2022, third-party transactions for business owners and side hustlers followed different thresholds: individuals needed to report gross payments exceeding $20,000 and report earnings if they had more than 200 such transactions, according to the IRS. But as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act, any transactions made after March 11, 2021 that exceed $600 must be reported to the IRS, regardless of how many of those transactions you’ve had.

Critics of the Democrats bill argued that this rule would disproportionately hurt the non-rich, including people working side gigs to help make ends meet.  In 2022, Democrats' big 'achievement,' again passed with zero Republican votes, was the inaptly-named Inflation Reduction Act, which even Bernie Sanders admitted wasn't really designed to reduce inflation.  One much-discussed provision in that law is a doubling of the IRS, the loathed and scandal-plagued tax collection agency that would crack down on people shirking the Democrat-created new reporting rules.  Democrats insisted this $80 billion steroid injection into the IRS wouldn't hurt non-wealthy Americans, but they repeatedly refused to amend the bill to guarantee middle- and working-class Americans wouldn't be affected by the gigantic influx of new IRS enforcement personnel and resources (revealingly, a former IRS chief expressed shock at how much money Democrats shoveled at the agency, which he said went far beyond what was needed).  

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Indeed, Senate Democrats unanimously voted down GOP efforts to force Democrats who enshrined their assurances into their law.  Their message to non-high-income Americans was, essentially, 'don't worry, and just trust us that you'll be fine.'  How should people be feeling about that these days?  A new study of 2022 IRS data underscores how much average Americans have to fear from the Internal Revenue Service, regardless of the "millionaires and billionaires" rhetoric from Democrats -- via the Washington Free Beacon:

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.

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Republicans were absolutely right about this, of course.  Now that they've taken over the House of Representatives, GOP leaders say their first priority will be to pass a bill defunding the Democrat-added 87,000 new IRS agents.  It won't become law, considering who controls the Senate and White House, but as the extent of the damage Democrats have done to working people here, force them to own it -- on the record, and more than once:


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