Monday, September 13, 2023 – The IRS was granted $80 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act, a development that has many concerned about an uptick in audits. I’ve long warned that the real issue to watch out for is the increased scrutiny enabled by information technology and artificial intelligence (AI). Now, my concerns are coming to fruition.
Armed with this windfall, the IRS has declared its intent to use AI to audit wealthy individuals and large financial partnerships, specifically those with an average of $10 billion in assets. While the agency’s initial focus appears to be on high earners and the ultra-rich, the fundamental issue is the Pandora’s Box that opens when the IRS begins to integrate AI into its audit procedures. Once the technology for “pattern recognition” and trend identification is unleashed, what safeguards are in place to prevent its application on middle-income Americans?
Today, the IRS says it will go after those who earn more than $1 million and have more than $250,000 in recognized tax debt. Seems fair, right? But don’t be fooled. The IRS has also signaled its intention to cast its AI net over digital assets—a rapidly expanding field that many average earners are entering – and all 1099 information return earners.
So, why does this matter? Because today’s focus on high-income earners is just a precursor to extending this technology to average Americans. While some may celebrate these developments as efforts to make the wealthy pay their ‘fair share,’ we must question what this means for the freedoms and privacy rights of all taxpayers. With the IRS’s enhanced capabilities courtesy of the Inflation Reduction Act, it’s more critical than ever to remain vigilant against potential overreach and abuse.