IRS Tightens the Reins on the Rich

April 4, 2011  |  

(Wall Street Journal) — The Internal Revenue Service is stepping up audits of wealthier taxpayers as part of a multiyear effort to crack down on tax avoidance.  According to the agency’s latest statistical report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the percentage of taxpayers who were audited increased in every category of adjusted gross income above $500,000, compared with a year earlier.    The biggest jumps came at the top of the income ladder. About 18% of Americans earning at least $10 million were audited in fiscal 2010, up from 11% in fiscal 2009, according to the IRS. For those earning $500,000 to $1 million, the audit rate rose to 3.4% from 2.8%.  Accountants and tax preparers said the IRS’s heightened scrutiny of wealthier taxpayers is in sharp contrast to the agency’s audit practices during the previous decade.

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