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Ways & Means Democrats Ask New IRS Leader For Detailed Plan to Address Broken Audit Process

Low-income and Black Americans targeted by IRS more than wealthy tax cheats, a disgraceful disparity “that must be corrected without delay”

Today, Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee Members Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Ranking Member Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Judy Chu (CA-28), Gwen Moore (WI-04), and Brad Schneider (IL-10) urged new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Danny Werfel to prioritize tax fairness and do more to pursue tax cheating by wealthy Americans. The members asked for Werfel’s plan and timeline for action by month’s end.

“We saw the inequities of our nation’s unfair two-tier tax system grow starker under your Trump-appointed predecessor… Low-income families and Black Americans should not face the consequences of failing tax enforcement policies while the rich get off scot-free. To the extent there is reprehensible racial discrimination built into the IRS’s audit selection algorithm, it must be eliminated – but your reforms cannot end there. The IRS should overhaul its entire auditing regime to ensure wealthy tax scofflaws and big business tax cheats pay their fair share,” the lawmakers wrote.

A recent Stanford University study found that Black taxpayers are audited by the IRS at 2.9 to 4.7 times the rate of non-Black taxpayers. According to the report, IRS has targeted low-income taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The elevated audit rate among EITC recipients is a well-documented phenomenon, which only grew worse under Trump IRS head Charles Rettig. The report further found Black taxpayers that claim the EITC are between 2.9 and 4.4 times as likely to be audited as non-Black EITC recipients.

The members ask Werfel to provide by March 31 a “detailed plan and timeline for implementing corrective action to address racial disparities in audit selection and outlining how the IRS plans to direct tax enforcement funds provided under the IRA to crack down on wealthy tax evaders.”

The letter can be found here.