United States Tax Audits Decline Significantly in 2018

Mar 29 2019
Published in: Public Policy
| Updated Apr 27 2023

A March 7, 2019 report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University—which has for years tracked IRS audit activity—says that in 2018, audits of major corporations fell below 50% for the first time in the period 2010-2018.  The IRS audited 302 of 633 corporations that reported $20 billion or more in assets.  

The IRS also audited fewer individuals reporting $1 million or more in income: 16,305 out of 504,278.

These results are not surprising, considering the severe cuts in personnel that IRS has experienced since 2010, and the extra work necessitated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  IRS staffing has dropped 22% since 2010, with the number of revenue agents conducting audits falling by 35%.  Although Congress is currently considering legislation to reorganize the IRS, nothing in that legislation would address staffing levels.

According to TRAC, in 2010 the IRS audited 96% of large corporations and asserted $23.7 billion in extra taxes.  The audits of 48% of such corporations in 2018 brought in only $12.5 billion.  Audits of millionaires in 2010 resulted in some $5.1 billion in extra taxes, compared to $1.9 billion in 2018.

How This Impacts Mobility

Worldwide ERC® members can expect fewer audits of relocation issues such as the taxability to transferees of costs incurred in home sale programs, and treatment of company losses in such programs.