IRS To Ramp Up Compliance Efforts on High-Income Taxpayers, IR-2023-166
The Internal Revenue Service detailed plans on some of the high-income taxpayers that will be targeted for more compliance efforts in the coming fiscal year.
IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, during a September 7, 2023, teleconference with reporters, said that the new compliance push “makes good on the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act to ensure the IRS holds our wealthiest filers accountable to pay the full amount of what they owe,”adding that the agency will simply be enforcing already-existing laws.
Werfel stated that the IRS will be “pursuing 1,600 millionaires who owe at least $250,000. … The IRS will have dozens of revenue officers focused on these high-end collection cases in fiscal year 2024,”which begins on October 1, 2023. “This group of millionaires owes hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, and we will use Inflation Reduction Act resources to get those funds back.”
He also said that the agency will be making a “dramatic shift” on large partnerships.
“These are some of the most complex cases the IRS faces, and it involves a wide range of activities and industries where it’s been far too easy for tax evaders to cut corners,”Werfel said.
To help with this effort, Werfel highlighted that the agency will be using expanded artificial intelligence programs and additional Inflation Reduction Act resources to help with the audit process for large complex partnerships.
“The selection of these partnership returns for review is the result of groundbreaking collaboration among experts in data sciences and tax enforcement,” Werfel said. “They have been working side-by-side to apply cutting-edge machine learning technology to identify potential compliance risks in the area of partnership tax, general income tax, and accounting and international tax in a segment that historically has been subject to limited examination coverage.”
The AI will be used to help spot trends that might not be obvious and help the agency determine which partnerships are at the greatest risk of noncompliance, starting with 75 specific partnerships with assets of more than $10 million.
“These are some of the largest [partnerships] in the U.S. that the AI tool helped us identify,” Werfel said. “These organizations will be notified of the audit in the coming weeks. These 75 organizations represent a cross section of industries, including hedge funds, real estate investment partnerships, publicly traded partnerships, large law firms, and other industries.”
Werfel also noted that starting in October, “hundreds of partnerships will receive a special compliance alert from us in the mail. The alert relates to what we have identified as an ongoing discrepancy on balance sheets involving partnerships with over $10 million in assets,” adding that taxpayers filing partnership returns are showing more and more discrepancies in recent years. Approximately 500 partnerships will be receiving this mailing.
“We will need to do more in the partnership arena,” Werfel said. “But this is historic. And these are examples of how the Inflation Reduction Act funding will make a difference and help ensure fairness in the tax system.”
Other areas that will get compliance attention in the coming fiscal year include those with digital assets, high-income taxpayers who use foreign banks to avoid disclosure and related tax obligations, as well as a previously announced effort to target the construction industry where companies are using subcontractors, which are shell corporations, to engage in tax fraud. The agency will also be targeting scammers such as the current trend of Employee Retention Credit mills.
Werfel also noted that there are ongoing efforts to keep hiring people to conduct these enforcement actions.
“We know we need to make more progress in our hiring efforts, as we will be accelerating these,” Werfel said. “This is particularly important given our aging workforce and the relatively high attrition rate among IRS employees.”
By Gregory Twachtman, Washington News Editor