Recently, the IRS Commissioner testified before the Senate Finance Committee, sending the message that the IRS is committed to catching intentional tax evaders. There was no ambiguity in the message of his testimony to Congress; he noted that under his watch, the IRS will aggressively pursue those purposely evading their tax obligations with civil and criminal enforcement. The commissioner made sure to mention that those who were not defrauding the system intentionally had nothing to worry about; they are not the target of stepped-up tax evasion enforcement.
The IRS will be targeting five major enforcement initiatives:
- Technology – The IRS will put a new focus on their use of technology as an enforcement tool; specifically, advanced data and analytical strategies. With this data-driven approach, the IRS believes it will be able to catch tax fraud impossible to spot even just a few years ago.
- Offshore Tax Evasion – Offshore tax reporting enforcement is a long-standing priority of the IRS, but the current commissioner reiterated the focus on this area, so don’t expect to see any easing here.
- Tax Shelters – The IRS believes many taxpayers are abusing two tax shelters, syndicated conservation easements, and micro-captive insurance arrangements. They plan on stepped-up enforcement on both those who arrange these shelters and taxpayers who participate in them.
- Cryptocurrency – The IRS believes there is mass non-compliance in the world of cryptocurrencies through either underreporting or non-reporting of taxable transactions.
- Wealthy Taxpayers – Enforcement actions take time and are resource-intensive, so it should be no surprise that the IRS is going after non-compliant taxpayers with the biggest ROI. The IRS is considering anyone with an income level over $100,000 to be high-income.
Expect to see increased tax enforcement efforts ahead, with a focus on those who are intentionally evading the system. If you haven’t purposely defrauded the system, you have little to worry about.