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Super Rich Spared So Far by IRS Audit Task Force
The Huffington Post | April 12, 2012 | 01:05 PM EDT

Despite the Internal Revenue Service's promise to bring new scrutiny to tax avoidance schemes used by the super rich, a new report finds that of the nearly 8,300 individuals recently reporting adjusted annual gross income of $10 million or more, as few as a dozen may have actually been audited by the special unit devoted to the task.

The report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a Syracuse University organization that monitors government performance, found that the IRS's Global High Wealth unit, announced to much fanfare in late 2009 , completed audits of only 36 super-high-income returns in its first two and a half years. Because returns from more than one year may be considered, it's possible that as few as 12 individuals were audited.

The relatively few number of audits nevertheless generated a fairly substantial amount of cash for the government: $47,729,198, or over $1.3 million per audited return.

And the pace appears to be picking up, with fully as many audits having been conducted in the first five months of fiscal year 2012 as in the entire fiscal year 2011. The pace of field audits of taxpayers reporting more than $1 million in income per year has similarly increased.

IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said the TRAC report’s focus on closed audits creates a false impression. "A better measure is how many audits we have open," he said.

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