The Internal Revenue Service audited one in eight people who earned $1 million annually, which makes them far likelier to be audited than those making less than $200,000, according to IRS data released on Thursday. Only one in 100 people who earned less than $200,000 were audited last year.
According to The Associated Press, the 12 percent of millionaires audited is up from the 8 percent the year before, a move, the IRS said, that shows an effort to demonstrate that tax laws are fairly applied. That has been something we've concentrated on to assure that there's equity in the system, to assure that those at the lower end of the spectrum know that those at the higher end of the spectrum are subject to the same rules and enforcement as everyone else, Steven Miller, deputy IRS commissioner for services and enforcement, told the AP.
President Barack Obama has been seeking to boost taxes on the wealthy in the recent weeks, in order to pay for jobs programs. However, Michelle Eldridge, an IRS spokeswoman, told the AP that the increase in audits is in no way related to politics. The IRS is an agency of civil servants, and we base our audit decisions on tax issues - nothing else. We don't play politics here, she said.
Larger corporations also faced more scrutiny, according to the IRS. One percent of corporations with less than $10 million were audited, compared to the 28 percent of corporations with assets greater than $250 million.
In total, the IRS audited 1.6 million of the 141 million tax returns that were filed, and in 2010, the most recent year available, more than eight in 10 people audited ended up paying extra taxes, to the tune of $2.3 trillion in revenue.