Republicans have been amplifying the claim lately that their party has undergone a “populist” makeover, rendering it both anti-elite and pro-working class. One way Republicans purport to illustrate this is by attacking President Biden’s expanded funding for the Internal Revenue Service, insisting that it empowers a strike force of bureaucrats to prey on ordinary Americans.
But new data on tax avoidance by the ultrarich badly undermines GOP claims to being an anti-elite, pro-worker party. It shows that if Republicans get their way with regard to the IRS, a nontrivial number of very rich Americans would continue to underpay taxes they owe, effectively making out like bandits — some literally so.
Nearly 1,000 tax filers who earn more than $1 million per year have still not filed federal tax returns for at least one year from 2017 to 2020, according to IRS data provided to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
What’s more, the 2,000 people who represent the highest-income non-filers in one or more of those years owe a total of more than $900 million in federal taxes, the data shows.
“These are people who essentially blow raspberries at the IRS,” Wyden told me. “They’re sophisticated people. They know this is wrong, wrong, wrong. And they do it anyway.” [Continue reading…]