I’m just pulling these numbers out of my nether parts, but I don’t get the excuse that auditing the wealthy uses a disproportionate amount of the IRS resources (i.e., people) to go over them and it’s easier and more efficient to go after smaller fry. If one IRS agent can check my $40,000 income tax return and one more can check your $60,000 return and they can find $1000 worth of underpayment there (1%), how many IRS agents does it take to go over Richie Rich’s $5,000,000 return to find $50,000 worth of underpayment (also 1%)? Surely it’s not as high as 50 agents, is it? That would be the proportionate number of agents to the 2 agents going over our 100,000 income returns.
Sure, we’d cave, you and me, and pay the lousy couple of hundred bucks rather than pay a lawyer to fight the IRS, while Richie would probably have lawyers on retainer but I think it would be so much easier to put up a strong case that the IRS would win to find that they had cheated the government out of $50,000, requiring much less manpower (10 agents? 6?) that they’d come out ahead of the game, and show other RRs that they can’t get away with filing incorrect tax returns routinely.
Maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part–I’m not rich, and don’t plan to be, but I think a more aggressive audit policy for the wealthy would go a long way towards making middle-class people like me far less resentful. Is there a good reason for the IRS to be fearful of auditing the wealthy aggressively while going after small fry like me and you?