I’m not very familiar with tax law, but I’ve looked at many different tax returns over the years. Tax forms are, among other things, a great way to prove the income of a litigant. Anyone like me, who has looked at many people’s tax returns and is willing to be honest, will tell you the same thing: there is a lot of income tax fraud in the world.
It is a little difficult for a W-2 wage earner to cheat his taxes. Wage earners get a salary or an hourly wage, their employer reports it and probably even withholds taxes, no fuss. But business owners and anyone else with a complicated source of income is a different story. For those with complicated control patterns, getting onto the slippery slope is so easy. Maybe it starts with stretching the definitions a little to just subtract a few more issues. Then, when nobody seems to notice or care, it is human nature to gradually push the boundaries.
At least at the federal level, nobody seems to notice or care about this for a long time. Tax enforcement under the Trump administration was an underfunded joke, which is not surprising given that Donald Trump himself appears to have benefited from tax fraud that has been overlooked for years. Trump has not (yet) been charged with a tax crime. While he’s not ultimately going to be charged with a crime, that’s pretty much what the phrase “let the fox run the chicken coop” was used to hold Trump accountable for tax enforcement.
President Joe Biden proposes a radically different approach. A recent Treasury Department report showed that Biden plans to gradually increase IRS funding by $ 80 billion, with the agency’s budget expected to grow by about 10 percent annually. A portion of this funding is earmarked for new hires, and the plan is to increase the IRS workforce by 87,000 over the next decade. Indeed, if 87,000 new IRS employees were hired, it would mean the agency would roughly double in size.
The expansion of the IRS is part of the Biden government’s effort to focus specifically on what it calls the “high-end bypass”. In simple terms, the IRS tracks uncollected taxes owed by large corporations and wealthy individuals. According to the Treasury Department, exam rates will not increase for those earning less than $ 400,000 a year. In contrast, under the Trump administration, low-income earners were screened more frequently than all but the richest taxpayers, especially those with annual incomes less than $ 25,000 who received the income tax credit.
In addition to the IRS staff and budget increases, the Biden government intends to introduce new reporting requirements for financial institutions and other types of businesses that manage customer accounts. According to official figures, the proposal to focus more on uncollected taxes on the rich and corporate will generate $ 700 billion in tax revenue in a decade.
Nobody really knows how many high-end tax evaders are hiding. According to the IRS, uncollected taxes in 2019 were approximately $ 554 billion. However, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig recently said the real figure could be as high as $ 1 trillion a year. A trillion dollars would certainly build many roads, schools, and bridges.
Under the Biden Plan for the IRS, high earners and large corporations are likely to face increased scrutiny. Now would be a good time for anyone worried about tax liability to get their house in order. Of course, if you are worried about an exam, your best defense is simply to pay all of your taxes.
Jonathan Wolf is a civil litigation attorney and author of Your debt free JD (Affiliate link). He has taught legal writing, written for a variety of publications, and made it his business as well as his pleasure to be financially and scientifically literate. Any views he expresses are likely pure gold, but are entirely his own and should not be attributed to any organization with which he is affiliated. He wouldn’t want to share the loan anyway. He can be reached at [email protected].