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The Daily Beast
April 17, 2012

IRS’s New High-Wealth Group Had High Hopes, But Slow to Audit the Super Rich
By Clark Merrefield

Today, a little more than a year since the high-wealth group was put into serious motion and two-and-a-half years since the group was announced, it has completed 36 audits of around 12 to 18 high-wealth individuals, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a statistics research organization. Through January 2012, the group has audited 24 flow-through entities, or about 14% of its target nearly halfway through the planned two-year period, according to TRAC. The agency’s internal score card shows that for audits on those pass-through entities, the high-wealth group “was in the ‘red zone’ in each of its priority areas, falling far short of its audit objectives,” according to TRAC. For TRAC, the takeaway is clear. The IRS set goals and created a stir, but the reality has not lived up to the hype. Yet even with the detailed data TRAC obtained, it’s difficult to examine the work of an agency like the IRS, which must comply with strict privacy laws. “Transparency is a good idea in a democracy, so at least people are informed about what’s going on,” says Susan Long, TRAC’s co-director. “But it’s not easy to be the IRS. There’s always more to do than you have resources for. But here we’re just saying these were your goals—how well are you meeting your goals?

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2012
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