|(23 Mar 2009)
The IRS audit rate for millionaires plummeted in the just-ended fiscal year, according to agency data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).
The very sharp decline from FY 2007 to FY 2008 contrasts directly with a 2008 press release in which the IRS claimed it was making "strong progress in a number of key enforcement areas," especially for "individuals with incomes of $1 million or more."
The IRS offered a curious explanation, relating the decline in millionaire audit rates to the increased workload associated with processing economic stimulus checks. The agency's own figures show that the IRS managed to maintain or increase the number of correspondence audits for income groups other than millionaires, where the number of such audits fell by 12 percent last year.
In addition to the collapse in the audit rate of America's millionaires, TRAC's investigation found the agency's earlier boast about its increased focus on the wealthy was, as the IRS now admits, untrue since it was based upon faulty agency records. The report is available at
This report was developed with the support of Syracuse University, the Knight Foundation, the New York Times Company Foundation and others. It builds on TRAC's investigation of the IRS that goes back more than two decades.
TRAC is self-supporting and depends on foundation grants, individual contributions and subscription fees for the funding needed to obtain, analyze and publish the data we collect on the activities of the US Federal government. To help support TRAC's ongoing efforts, go to: