Yellen Tells IRS Not to Target Middle-Income Americans With Audits as Crackdown Fears Swirl

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has ordered the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) not to send tax enforcers to audit households making less than $400,000 per year after concerns were raised that a massive funding boost to the agency would be used to crack down not on wealthy tax dodgers but to bully middle-income Americans.

The Inflation Reduction Act, which recently cleared the Senate in a partisan vote and is expected to be approved by the House as soon as Friday, allocates some $80 billion in additional funding for the IRS, with a portion earmarked for increased enforcement such as audits.

Yellen said in an Aug. 10 letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig that the “much-needed” funding would be used to modernize outdated technological infrastructure, improve taxpayer service, and enforce tax laws against high-earners and big corporations that don’t pay what they owe in taxes.

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