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IRS confirms Black taxpayers get audited more often, promises fixes

The IRS on Monday promised to find out why Black taxpayers are more frequently the target of audits.
IRS confirms Black taxpayers get audited more often, promises fixes
Posted at 8:55 PM, May 15, 2023

The IRS sent a letter to Congress Monday confirming what research from earlier this year showed: Black taxpayers get audited more frequently than any other taxpayers.

Researchers at Stanford University, the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago worked with the Treasury Department to study how U.S. taxpayers are audited.

They found Black taxpayers get audit notices at least 2.9 times more frequently than non-Black taxpayers.

The researchers say it's difficult to pinpoint exactly why that happens. Taxpayers do not provide information about their racial or ethnic identity to the IRS. The IRS also does not publish the methods it uses to select cases for audit.

In his Monday letter, IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel said "We are dedicating significant resources to quickly evaluating the extent to which IRS’s exam priorities and automated processes, and the data available to the IRS for use in exam selection, contribute to this disparity."

Werfel said the agency will reevaluate how it selects cases that get further attention, possibly by focusing on "broader tax issues."

The IRS plans to use some of the $80 billion it got as part of the Inflation Reduction Act to investigate how and why its auditing methods may be biased.

Werfel said the IRS would publicly share more about the research and more about changes it makes to fix the problem. 

SEE MORE: How the IRS put Inflation Reduction Act funding to use this year


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