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The federal government is over half a billion dollars richer thanks to its increased collection of back taxes.

The IRS has been making headlines with its intensified enforcement efforts to ensure that high-income individuals, large corporations, and complex partnerships pay their fair share of taxes. The push is part of a broader initiative to transform the agency, bolstered by resources from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

In a recent announcement, the IRS revealed that it had collected over $482 million in an ongoing effort to recoup taxes owed by 1,600 millionaires. Combined with earlier successes, the IRS has recovered over $520 million in back taxes from this target group. The agency has also “advanced efforts to pursue people using partnerships to avoid paying self-employment taxes as well as other enforcement priorities announced in the fall of 2023.”.

“The IRS continues to increase scrutiny on high-income taxpayers as we work to reverse the historic low audit rates and limited focus that the wealthiest individuals and organizations faced in the years that predated the [IRA]. We are adding staff and technology to ensure that the taxpayers with the highest income, including partnerships, large corporations, and millionaires and billionaires, pay what is legally owed under federal law,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel noted.

The agency’s approach includes several key initiatives:

  • Prioritizing high-income cases, especially those involving individuals with incomes over $1 million and tax debts exceeding $250,000.
  • Pursuing discrepancies in multi-million-dollar partnership balance sheets, particularly substantial discrepancies between end-of-year balances compared to beginning balances the following year.
  • Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to ramp up audits of the 76 largest partnerships, which include hedge funds, real estate investment partnerships, and large law firms.
  • Introducing a transfer-pricing initiative focused on foreign companies that distribute goods in the U.S. but do not pay their fair share of tax on the profit they earn from their U.S. activity.
  • Expanding the Large Corporate Compliance program, which focuses on noncompliance by using data analytics to identify large, complex corporate taxpayers for audit.
  • Increasing partnership self-employment compliance to ensure that Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) taxes are being correctly reported and paid by wealthy individual partners who provide services and have inappropriately claimed to qualify as “limited partners.”

The IRS offers examples of recent cases it successfully pursued under the initiatives above, many including criminal charges and prison sentences. The agency’s IRA cash infusion, it says, enabled it to hire additional talent (more than 560 new accountants in November and December alone) and modernize its technology in order to ramp up and continue the charge. Learn more from its fact sheet here, and feel free to contact us with questions.

Photo from 123rf.com

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