How much did Congress lose by defunding the IRS?

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.



Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!


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.


I think that would be reasonable as long as we double the fines on the guilty. I’m pretty sure the IRS has a very high win ratio on tax fraud cases.



When I first started in the tax business back in the 1980s, it was something like 8:1 over all audits. 12:1 for wealthy taxpayers doesn’t shock me at all.

With a limited budget to take cases to court, I’m not surprised that only the best cases make it to court. So their win ratio should be very high.


That’s a silly explanation. It’s clearly that they are bought and paid for, and know exactly what they’re doing.


$12 to $1?

By that logic the entire federal budget should go to the IRS.

There are diminishing returns.

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.

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Of course there are demising returns and you’d never put the entire budget into the IRS. But a 12:1 pay-back ratio tells us we are FAR from over-staffed in the IRS.


Everything you say is true, however, somehow the (L&Ses) have convinced the mob, that it is the mob they are protecting from audits, not their “JC” paymasters.

Let that sink in for a moment, the advocates of “law and order” want to enable more breaking of the law.



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.



The ratio was created before the $80 b now $70 b pump in funding.

That makes the solution simple.

Assess the wealthy $10b x 11 (lost revenue from not hiring more agents) each year. If they don’t like it, assess them double that amount.