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USA Today: IRS Audits May Decline Due to Low-Staffing Issues

Thursday, 12 April 2012 09:27 AM

The IRS may audit fewer people this year due to staffing and budgetary constraints.

Federal budget cuts, hiring freezes, staffing cuts, complex tax codes and time spent battling tax identity fraud might make it hard for the IRS to hander out garden variety audits, USA Today reports.

About 1.1 percent of taxpayers faced audits in the last two years.

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IRS Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller tells USA Today that audits "may drop a little bit this year" because the agency reassigned workers to help deal with a jump in cases of identity-theft-related tax-refund fraud.

"We may not be able to do everything, but we're going to ensure that we do what we have to do."

The individual audit rate hasn't dropped below 1 percent since before 2006.

"The IRS is put between a rock and a hard place" trying to balance its increasing duties and declining resources, says Mark Luscombe, principal tax analyst for CCH, a tax and business law information firm, USA Today adds.

The head of the IRS, meanwhile, has called on Congress whether or not to decide on the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year.

Democrats want to extend them for everyone save the wealthy, while Republicans want to extend them for everyone.

Bickering over the issue that would allow them to lapse will confuse taxpayers and disrupt revenue flow, says IRS Commission Douglas Shulman.

Congress needs to decide yes or no on the issue before year end and avoid addressing the issue after they lapse.

"We're going to have real risk in the system" if Congress delays, Shulman told the National Press Club recently, according to Reuters.

"You could have a real disaster in the filing season where there's total confusion."

Editor's Note:  How to Pay Zero Taxes . . . Legally

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