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IRS Says It Needs Budget Boost to Crack Down on Wealthy Tax Cheats

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What You Need to Know

  • The Biden budget proposes a 10% increase for the IRS in fiscal 2022.
  • The agency wants to hire specialized agents to focus on HNW individuals, global high wealth, large pass-throughs and non-filer virtual currency.
  • Sen. Ron Wyden is most concerned about very wealthy partnerships.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told members of the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday that the agency plans to use its fiscal 2022 budget to hire specialized agents who will crack down on wealthy tax cheats.

President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2022 discretionary budget proposal for the IRS provides $13.2 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion, or 10.4%, above the 2021 enacted level, with $340 million devoted to enforcement.

In his testimony Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee, Rettig said that the $340 million allocated to enforcement will be used to continue “to establish enforcement strategies that will ensure a fair tax system, by allowing the IRS eventually to double its compliance efforts on partnerships and high-wealth returns and devote more resources to examining large corporations with balance sheet assets greater than $10 million.”

The funds will also be used to expand oversight against cybercrime and to increase use of applied data analytics in enforcement activities.

Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., probed Rettig on how the wealthy continually “skip out” on paying taxes, pointing to IRS enforcement regarding large partnerships, which he said “can abuse the system with impunity.”

“We share your concerns,” Rettig replied. “Our highest rates of attrition are at our most specialized senior examiners.”

Biden’s budget request for the IRS, Rettig said, specifically provides for increased resources for specialized agents to examine partnerships, wealthy individuals and corporations — areas which Rettig said he previously told lawmakers the IRS remains “outgunned.”

Wyden then asked Rettig how much of the additional enforcement funds would be directed to these “very wealthy” partnerships.

In the budget, “the most significant increase for the IRS is for taxpayer service and modernization,” Rettig said. As to enforcement, “our specialized agents that we’re looking to bring on board” is a “significant hiring for us.”

Those agents will focus on high-net-worth individuals, global high wealth, large pass-throughs as well as non-filer virtual currency, Rettig said.