News Release

Why Does IRS Target Working Poor More than Billionaires?

CHUCK COLLINS, chuck@ips-dc.org or via Bob Keener, bobk@ips-dc.org
On the news of President Biden’s plan to increase the IRS’s enforcement efforts, reportedly targeting the wealthy, Collins, director of the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, and author of the new book, The Wealth Hoarders; How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Billions, released the following statement:

“Taxes have become almost optional for the super-rich. President Biden’s plan is a welcome first step in reversing wealth hidding and tax avoidance by billionaires and multi-millionaires. You are four-times more likely to get audited if you use the Earned Income Credit – a tax break for working families – than if you’re a billionaire using a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust.

“This is not an accident. The super-rich — those with over $30 million and up — hire a veritable army of what social scientists call the ‘wealth defense industry’ to dodge taxes, stash wealth, and lobby for weak taxes. These are highly paid tax attorneys, wealth managers, and accountants, who specialize in creating complex shell games using offshore tax havens, dynasty trusts, anonymous shell companies, and bogus transactions. Billionaires pay them millions to hide trillions.

“Strengthening the IRS is a vital first step to economic recovery and reducing extreme wealth inequality. The future of the IRS may determine whether we become a society dominated by billionaires or a functioning democracy.”