The specialized IRS crew that audits the wealthy brings in $12 for every $1 spent on their salary and benefits. If we were running the IRS as a business, we’d be hiring as many of these folks as we could find. There’s no shortage of tax cheating at the top of the pyramid, yet one party seems to want to target single mothers on food stamps.
And this isn’t new information. The NY Times had an article on the exact same topic in 2006. There seems to be a surplus of ignorance and innumeracy on one side of the aisle.
I first heard similarly way back in the mid-90’s. My college roommate took a law school tax class in which this topic came up. He was also presented with some crazy $X:$1 ratio. When a student asked why the government didn’t simply hire more bodies until it balanced out, the answer was given as “plain and simple, lack of political will.” That has always stuck with me, especially as I’ve come to realize how often that answer applies.
That being said, I’d also want safeguards reimbursing citizens who haven’t skirted the law. Cheats should pay. Those who are innocent shouldn’t be penalized the cost of defending an audit.
It is critically important not only to spend enough on audits to efficiently maximize governmental income from legal taxation, but also critically important to punish scofflaws, especially scofflaws who are wealthy and powerful. They destroy the bonds of a civil society. That destruction is clearly apparent and damages far more deeply than a shortfall n revenues.
I’m talking about the low income, low education Red State voters that are sending these guys to Congress. You have the same problem on the DEM side with the Corporate Democrats which make up about half the caucus.