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IRS targeting millionaires, billionaires who skip out on federal taxes

Chris Graham
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The IRS, this week, announced a new program targeting millionaires and billionaires who try to write off their personal use of their private business jets.

In case you were wondering, this would be one of the reasons why congressional Republicans like Ben Cline and Bob Good made so much a deal of the push to boost IRS funding last year.

“Personal use of corporate jets and other aircraft by executives and others have tax implications, and it’s a complex area where IRS work has been stretched thin. With expanded resources, IRS work in this area will take off. These aircraft audits will help ensure high-income groups aren’t flying under the radar with their tax responsibilities,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said.

This Danny Werfel, to be clear, isn’t the Danny Wuerffel who was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida in the 1990s.

This one has degrees from Cornell, UNC and Duke who has served in top roles in the IRS and Office and Management and Budget in the Obama and Biden administrations.

The “expanded resources” referenced by Werfel come from funding included in the Inflation Reduction Act that House Republicans like Cline, R-Sixth District, and Good, R-Fifth District, made a point of trying to block, pretending that the reason they wanted to do so had to do with protecting average taxpayers.

“The last thing hardworking families and small businesses need is more IRS bureaucrats spying on their Venmo accounts to squeeze more money out of their pockets,” Cline said on the issue last year. “Americans deserve an IRS that works for them, not against them. Voting to repeal this funding for Biden’s army of 87,000 auditors is a great first step in the right direction, and is the first of many promises House Republicans will deliver on in the 118th Congress.”

This was Good on the IRS funding issue last year: “We must block the radical Biden agenda and put power back in the hands of the American people.”

The “radical Biden agenda” is making sure that the “American people” who use the business deduction for expenses of maintaining an asset, such as a corporate jet, if that asset is utilized for a business purpose, to their advantage at tax time.

That’s not you or me, but you already knew that.

The audits, according to a news release from the IRS, will be focused on aircraft usage by large corporations, large partnerships and high-income taxpayers and whether for tax purposes the use of jets is being properly allocated between business and personal reasons.

The IRS will be using advanced analytics and resources from the Inflation Reduction Act to more closely examine this area, which has not been closely scrutinized during the past decade as agency resources fell sharply.

Gee, wonder why that was?

The number of audits related to aircraft usage could increase in the future following initial results and as the IRS continues hiring additional examiners.

“The IRS continues to increase scrutiny on high-income taxpayers as we work to reverse the historic low audit rates and limited focus that the wealthiest individuals and organizations faced in the years that predated the Inflation Reduction Act,” Werfel said. “We are adding staff and technology to ensure that the taxpayers with the highest income, including partnerships, large corporations and millionaires and billionaires, pay what is legally owed under federal law. The IRS will have more announcements to make in this important area.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].