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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman John Sarbanes (3rd District of Maryland)

October 19, 2020

In The News

By Scott Horsley | NPR (‘All Things Considered’)

Ari Shapiro, Host: A teacher, a small-business owner and a retiree who complained they paid more in federal income taxes than President Trump are now gracing campaign billboards in swing states around the country. The ads follow reporting by The New York Times that Trump paid little or no federal income tax in most of the last 20 years. Trump has denied that report, but as NPR’s Scott Horsley reports, the wealthy are getting less scrutiny from the tax collector with each passing year…. Horsley: The IRS is particularly aggressive about auditing people who claim the earned income tax credit. While that tax break for working families has been plagued by reporting problems, the IRS says it accounts for just 6% of all unpaid taxes. Nevertheless, people claiming the credit were more than 10 times as likely to be audited last year as multimillionaires. Over the last decade, the IRS enforcement budget has been cut by 25%. Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes says that’s made it harder for the agency to keep tabs on wealthy people who try to avoid paying taxes. John Sarbanes: The rich get richer. High-end tax cheats get away with not paying their taxes. Meanwhile, those average Americans out there who play by the rules – they’re the ones that are getting short shrift here. Horsley: University of Pennsylvania law professor Natasha Sarin says it’s hard for ordinary wage-earners to cheat the government because their taxes are automatically deducted from their paychecks. Rich people, on the other hand, have more ways to hide their income and lowball their tax bill.