Surprise! The IRS Lied About Who Those 80,000 New Agents Would Target

Rick Moran12:14 PM on April 06, 2024

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

“Never trust a man who lays his hand on his heart when he assures you of anything,” goes the old axiom. That’s why I never trust a Democrat who makes any promise ever about a federal agency or program.

Take Medicare. In 1966 when Medicare began, it cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost about $12 billion by 1990. Instead, it cost $107 billion and today costs the government close to a trillion dollars.

So when Joe Biden and the Democrats assured Americans and Republicans in Congress that the $80 billion the president wanted to augment the IRS tax-collecting ability was only going to target “the rich,” everyone with two brain cells working knew it was a lie.

It will surprise no one that an audit by the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration found that “President Biden’s plan to hire a new army of tax collectors is falling flat, and the agents already at work are targeting the middle class.”  

“As of last summer, 63% of new audits targeted taxpayers with income of less than $200,000,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Only a small overall share reached the very highest earners, while 80% of audits covered filers earning less than $1 million.”

Bank robber Willie Sutton supposedly responded to the question of why he robs banks by saying with a shrug, “That’s where the money is.” So, too, the IRS audits well-off but not “rich” taxpayers because they can’t afford the army of tax attorneys that the super-rich can bring to the table. 

Here’s a gentle reminder of the assurances given to us by the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress.

“These resources are absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans. As we’ve been planning, our investment of these enforcement resources is designed around the Department of the Treasury’s directive that audit rates will not rise relative to recent years for households making under $400,000,” wrote IRS commissioner Charles Rettig in an August 2022 letter to concerned senators.

Janet Yellen was even more adamant. “Contrary to the misinformation from opponents of this legislation, small business or households earning $400,000 per year or less will not see an increase in the chances that they are audited,” she wrote in a letter to Rettig. “It’s almost like they didn’t tell us the truth the first time around. But that’s not even the most embarrassing thing in the report: The IRS had set a goal of hiring 3,700 new agents in the first year of boosted funding. Instead, in the first six months, they’d hired 34.

Awkwardly, “revenue agent staffing had actually decreased by 8%, or more than 650 employees, between the end of fiscal 2019 and March 2023,” per a previous watchdog report. And it’s not just hiring that’s in trouble: The agency has completed just 33 percent of its fiscal year 2023 milestones outlined in its strategic operating plan, which is…tough given that the year is over.”

This is the classic Lucy with the football telling Charlie Brown “this time, I won’t pull the ball away and laugh at you when you kick empty air and fall flat on your arse”. Most of us don’t fall for it.