Report: IRS Three Times More Likely To Audit Blacks

Amid racism claims, Biden plans to spend billions to hire 87,000 new employees

The IRS building / Getty Images
January 31, 2023

As the Biden administration moves to hire 87,000 additional IRS employees, a new study finds that black Americans are three times as likely to be audited by the agency than other groups.

The IRS's computer algorithms disproportionately select black taxpayers for audits, economists from the Treasury Department and three universities found, even after controlling for "differences in the types of returns each group is most likely to file," the New York Times reported.

The study comes after congressional Republicans voted to reverse nearly $70 billion in funding pushed by the Biden administration to expand the federal agency. A previous study found poor Americans were five times as likely to be audited by the Biden IRS than rich and middle-class earners. The group most audited was those earning less than $25,000.

The Congressional Budget Office said upwards of 78 percent of revenue from new audits under Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act would be from families pulling in less than $200,000 per year.

The IRS is likely looking for easy audits to conduct, the New York Times reported:

In effect, the researchers suggest that the I.R.S. has focused on audits that are easier to conduct and as a result, finds itself disproportionately auditing a historically disadvantaged group rather than other taxpayers, including high net-worth individuals.

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill in its first day under Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) to reverse the nearly $70 billion in funding for mass hiring at the agency. Republican senator Rick Scott (Fla.) proposed a similar bill in the upper chamber to pull the funding.

The White House said last week it would sink the "reckless" GOP bill to defund the hires. It has not commented on the disproportionate targeting of minorities and low-income earners.

Published under: IRS , Racism