(RightWing.org) – The Internal Revenue Service has written to the Senate with an astonishing admission that it’s racially biased. According to the agency, Black taxpayers are less able to benefit from tax breaks and more likely to get audited than White ones. Now the IRS says it’s committed to “doing the work” needed to fix this.
On May 15, IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel wrote a letter to the Senate Finance Committee in response to a request for information into how taxpayers were selected for auditing and why Black taxpayers seem to be hit with a disproportionate number of audits. Werfel cited a study from Stanford University that estimated Black taxpayers are audited at between 2.9 and 4.7 times the rate of other ethnic groups. He said the agency is “laser-focused” on this issue and promised changes will be made before the next set of tax returns are due to be filed.
In fact, the reason for Black taxpayers being disproportionately audited isn’t down to actual racial discrimination; it’s because of the way the IRS’s computers work. Taxpayers are selected for auditing by algorithms that look at their tax returns and identify patterns that could indicate issues. One of the issues it looks for is the potential overclaiming of Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), which is aimed at low-income families — and Blacks are more likely to qualify for it. Now, the IRS is looking at ways to change its algorithms to eliminate the over-selection of Black taxpayers for audits.
The IRS has apparently been inspired by the work of Dorothy Brown, an emeritus professor of law at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Brown has been alleging racial bias in the federal tax system for years and has written a book called “The Whiteness of Wealth.” The IRS, which under the Biden administration is focused on “equity,” seems to have accepted her claims as fact.
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