Fact-check: Do low-income Americans receive the most audits from the IRS?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By D.L. Davis, PolitiFactSeptember 14, 2022 10:30 am, ,

From PolitiFact:

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law Aug. 16, 2022, by President Joe Biden, has many provisions aiming to lower drug costs, address the climate crisis, reduce the deficit, and ask large corporations to pay a greater share of taxes.

But one aspect of the Democratic plan has sparked some of the biggest headlines: $80 billion over 10 years to beef up the Internal Revenue Service. Here’s a sample of unfounded and debunked claims:

A ‘Delta Force’ seized a shipment of weapons headed to the IRS, a TikTok video claimed. PolitiFact National rated this Pants on Fire.

The government is arming up the IRS because “Joe Biden is raising taxes and disarming Americans,” U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said. PolitiFact National rated this False.

“Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you — with 710,000 new audits for Americans who earn less than $75k,” House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy insisted. PolitiFact National rated this Mostly False.

In Wisconsin, meanwhile, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson weighed in Aug. 7, 2022, the day the Senate approved the measure, with a news release citing a litany of grievances with the IRS and this claim: “Last year, the IRS audited Americans earning less than $25,000 a year at five times the rate of other groups.”

According to Democrats and the White House, the Inflation Reduction Act money for the IRS is meant to improve tax compliance enforcement of the wealthiest in the nation. So, Johnson’s claim caught our attention.

Is he right?

Two sides point to the same study to make their points

When asked for backup, Johnson spokesperson Alexa Henning pointed to an April 13, 2022, letter from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. The letter was sent to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig.

The letter — from two prominent Democrats, no less — accuses the IRS of targeting low-income Americans for tax audits.

After noting the lawmakers are working to secure more money to expand audits, the letter says: “The most vulnerable taxpayers should not shoulder the burden of insufficient IRS enforcement funding simply because they require fewer resources to audit.”

Keep those thoughts in mind as we move ahead. …

Read the full story at PolitiFact, and listen to an interview with PolitiFact Texas’ Nusaiba Mizan in the audio player above.

Radio story produced by Sean Saldana

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