After reviewing the scandal in which Tea Party organizations were targeted by the Obama IRS for more rigorous tax-exempt scrutiny, the Department of Justice announced a settlement with those groups, putting an end to an affair which first came to light in 2013. It wasn’t until October 2017 that the settlement was reached and had it not been for a Trump Presidential victory, it would’ve never occurred.
Conservative groups don’t have to worry about being targeted by the IRS anymore, and during the Trump administration, the IRS is hassling a record low number of Americans. As reported by the Washington Times:
The IRS is auditing fewer tax returns than at any other time in the past 15 years as the agency struggles with what it says is a shrinking budget and pressure from Congress to be less zealous in enforcement. Just six out of every 1,000 individual taxpayers faced an audit last year, the government said in the latest IRS Data Book released last week, marking the lowest rate since 2002.
Analysts say this is a trend that’s likely to continue this year, as the IRS has to simultaneously deal with the strain of adapting to the new tax law while facing budget cuts.
The IRS has been begging for more resources to conduct enforcement, but the Republican-led Congress has been reluctant to allocate the money.
Former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has estimated that the agency leaves up to $8 billion per year in legitimately owed taxes on the table because of a lack of resources for enforcement.
For some perspective, $8 billion is equal to roughly 0.2% of the Federal budget.
The Omnibus passed last month provides $4.9 billion in funding for IRS enforcement, which includes staff to conduct “examinations,” and audits. That is the same amount as in 2017 but well below the $5.5 billion level in 2011.
More significant, the staff dedicated to audits and collections has dropped from 44,000 in 2011 to 31,000 as of September.
The IRS is consistently ranked among the least popular government agencies, so it’ll be interesting to see how the liberal media covers this story.
Is Trump doing everything he can to combat the IRS?