Low-income earners among the most audited by the IRS, Syracuse University study finds

Tax Document
Posted at 7:47 AM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-10 09:54:07-05

Most workers can expect to receive their W-2 forms from their jobs sometime in January, and the IRS will start accepting filings on January 29th this year.

Syracuse University tracks data that can give taxpayers insight into which kinds of tax returns are audited at the highest rates.

According to the report entitled "IRS Audits Few Millionaires But Targeted Many Low-Income Families in FY 2022," overall chances of an audit are low.

In 2022, "the odds of audit had fallen to 3.8 out of every 1,000 returns filed (0.38%). For fiscal year 2021, the odds of audit had been 4.1 out of every 1,000 returns filed (0.41%)," according to the report.

The report's data indicates that people who earn less than $25,000 per year who claim Eared Income Tax Credits are among the most audited.

"This group of taxpayers have historically been targeted not because they account for the most tax under-reporting, but because they are easy marks in an era when IRS increasingly relies upon correspondence audits yet doesn’t have the resources to assist taxpayers or answer their questions," the report said.

The Syracuse report also provided statistics regarding the country's highest earners.

"Millionaires, as discussed previously, did have the highest odds of being audited. However, if one ignores the fiction of auditing a millionaire through simply sending a letter through the mail, the odds that millionaires received a regular audit by a revenue agent (1.1%) was actually less than the audit rate of the targeted lowest income wage-earners..." the report stated.

Business owners who earn less than a million dollars per year are also found to be audited at higher rates than middle-income earners who don't own businesses.

For those planning for next tax year, cutting down now on your taxable income can help you save money in the future, MSU professor and tax attorney Gregory Clifton said. He recommended contributing to retirement and other tax-deferred accounts.

He also said honesty could save you lots of money int he long-run.

"It's never a good idea to violate federal law, it's never a good idea to violate state law," he said. "You purposefully provide inaccurate information to the government, then you're putting yourself and your family at risk."

Low-income earners among the most audited by the IRS

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