The WSJ reports, the IRS audited 0.45% of personal income tax returns in fiscal 2019, down from 0.59% in 2018 and marking the eighth straight year of decline, according to a report released on Monday. In 2010, the IRS audited 1.1% of tax returns. The report doesn’t break down audits by income category or provide details about how much revenue they generate.
The steady erosion of tax enforcement has been driven by years of cuts in the agency’s budget along with a heavier workload. The result, according to tax experts, is that the Treasury is letting billions of dollars annually go uncollected, even as budget deficits rise.
“The audit rate reported for 2019 was less than half of what it was in 2010, underscoring the depleted state of the IRS enforcement function, which urgently needs to be rebuilt,” said Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive group in Washington.