The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and
The San Francisco Examiner
April 12, 2000

On April 12, 2000, these four papers and many others around the nation published major articles about the audit practices of the IRS. The New York Times led the paper with the finding that in 1999 the audit rate for poor people was higher than for the wealthy. It also described how many aspects of the agency's enforcement program had sharply declined. The Los Angeles Times's front-page article also focused on the relatively high audit rate for individuals reporting $25,000 or less in income. The Washington Post and the San Francisco Examiner ran their IRS articles on the front of the business section. The starting point for these papers, and news organizations served by AP and the Knight Ridder News Service, was the enforcement and staffing information that TRAC had obtained from the IRS, the Office of Personnel Management, the Justice Department and other sources. The data -- accessible on both TRACFED and TRAC's IRS public web site -- had been made available to reporters on an embargoed basis so that they all would have time to do their independent investigation of several previously unnoticed and unannounced shifts in the recent actions of one of the nation's most powerful enforcement agencies. The April 2000 cycle was the fifth consecutive year that news organizations had relied on TRAC data for their traditional mid-April tax articles.


Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2000
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