IRS Targets High-Income Compliance with New Special Unit


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is amplifying its efforts to monitor high-income tax compliance by setting up a specialized unit to oversee significant or complex pass-through organizations. This initiative is part of the agency’s more comprehensive focus on reinforcing the nation’s tax regulations.

Nestled within the IRS Large Business and International (LB&I) division, the new unit will accommodate employees recruited through the IRS’s recent nationwide hiring initiative. The IRS declared last week its intention to fill over 3,700 roles, primarily to bolster the enforcement targeting complicated partnerships, substantial corporations, and high-wealth and high-income individuals.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel emphasized the agency’s determination: “We are honing-in on areas where we believe non-compliance among our wealthiest filers has proliferated over the last decade of IRS budget cuts, and pass-throughs are high on our list of concerns. This new unit will leverage Inflation Reduction Act funding to disrupt efforts by certain large partnerships to use pass-throughs to intentionally shield income to avoid paying the taxes they owe. These efforts are consistent with our broader commitment to use Inflation Reduction Act dollars to end the era of historically low error rates for wealthy and large entities, while making sure middle- and low-income filers continue to see no change in audit rates for years to come.”

Having recently concluded a comprehensive review of its enforcement protocols, on September 8, the IRS heralded a transformative strategy designed to reestablish balance in tax compliance. This strategy involves shifting a significant portion of its attention and resources to high-income earners, major corporations, and those potentially manipulating the tax system.

Pass-through entities, like partnerships and S-corporations, allow income to “pass-through” to individual or corporate owners’ income tax returns, bypassing the corporate income tax. Such structures, often utilized by wealthier demographics, can create intricate tax scenarios.

LB&I Commissioner Holly Paz, in her address to the Tax Executives Institute in New York, stated, “This new direction is crucial. Our focus in the coming months will be to facilitate a smooth transition to this specialized group.”

During this transition, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) will collaborate closely with the IRS. Paz revealed that while the formal inauguration of the workgroup is slated for the end of the following year, operations in pass-through domains will intensify concurrently. This collective will eventually comprise LB&I and the Small Business/Self Employed segment personnel.

The IRS’s broader compliance initiative, fueled by the Inflation Reduction Act funding from the previous August, will cast a sharper focus on sectors that have witnessed drastic reductions in audit rates over the past ten years. Leveraging advancements in technology and Artificial Intelligence, the IRS seeks to enhance its ability to detect tax irregularities, identify potential compliance risks, and refine case selection procedures, thus reducing unnecessary audits for taxpayers.

Image: IRS

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.