GOP tactics have led IRS to audit poor, minority counties more often than multi-millionaires

Just in time for tax season is one of the most infuriating stories I’ve seen this year. A rural county in the Mississippi delta which is primarily black is the most heavily audited county in the country. A third of its residents live below the poverty line. The IRS is focusing its scarce audit resources on them rather than the wealthy. No wonder tax cheats like Donald Trump can get away with scams that bilk Tresury out of hundreds of millions of dollars. 

For years, the GOP has run a calculated campaign to starve the IRS’s enforcement division. Their goal is to weaken it to the point where their plutocrat masters can evade taxes with impunity. The IRS has been so weakened that GOP donors no longer need top-notch lawyers to avoid paying their fair share, they can make do with anyone.

What we didn’t know is that while the GOP has been starving the IRS of resources, they’ve also been pressuring it to focus on auditing the poorest, blackest counties in America. The people least equipped to deal with the financial and emotional strain of an IRS audit, those are the people the IRS has been targeting. For example, Humphreys county, Mississippi.

In a baffling twist of logic, the intense IRS focus on Humphreys County is actually because so many of its taxpayers are poor. More than half of the county’s taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit, a program designed to help boost low-income workers out of poverty. As we reported last year, the IRS audits EITC recipients at higher rates than all but the richest Americans, a response to pressure from congressional Republicans to root out incorrect payments of the credit.

The study estimates that Humphreys, with a median annual household income of just $26,000, is audited at a rate 51 percent higher than Loudoun County, Virginia, which boasts a median income of $130,000, the highest in the country. [...]

The map reveals wide variations in the audit rate from place to place, but also how certain groups of Americans are disproportionately affected by the IRS’ policies. The five counties with the highest audit rates are all predominantly African American, rural counties in the Deep South. The audit rate is also very high in South Texas’ largely Hispanic counties and in counties with Native American reservations, such as in South Dakota. Primarily poor, white counties, such as those in eastern Kentucky in Appalachia, also have elevated audit rates.

The states with the lowest audit rates tend to be home to middle income, largely white populations: places like New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Generally, the IRS audits taxpayers with household income between $50,000 and $100,000 the least. — projects.propublica.org/...

We need to elect people who will use their office to bring justice, rolling down like a mighty stream, upon Republican scofflaws. 

— @subirgrewal

 

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