IRS acts to address wide disparity in audit rates between Black taxpayers and other filers


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By Fatima Hussein, AP News

IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel prepares to testify (Kevin Wolfe/AP Photo).

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS said Thursday that it has taken steps to address a wide disparity in audit rates between Black taxpayers and others filers, and is more closely examining the returns of larger numbers of wealthy people and major companies.

“We are overhauling compliance efforts to advance our commitment to fair, equitable, and effective tax administration and hold ourselves accountable to taxpayers we serve,” according to an annual update from the agency.

study from January 2023 involving university researchers and the Treasury Department found that IRS data-driven algorithms selected Black taxpayers for auditing at up to 4.7 times the rate of non-Black taxpayers. The study said the IRS disproportionately audited people who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is aimed at low- to moderate-income workers and families: While Black taxpayers accounted for 21% of the claims for that break, they were the focus of 43% of the audits concerning the credit.

“We have taken swift initial action to dramatically reduce the number of those audits. We have also made changes to the selection criteria for those audits,” IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said.

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