An increased emphasis on millionaires who may be evading taxes by Internal Revenue Service compliance staff has resulted in collection of $482 million to date, agency Commissioner Daniel Werfel reported.

During a January 11, 2024, conference call, Werfel noted that those taxes have been collected from about 1,600 millionaires and there is “more work to come” to ensure the wealthy are compliant with their taxes.

“These efforts … show the IRS continues to be focused on going after the wealthiest people in organizations who are evading some of the basic tax responsibilities,” Werfel said.

One example of the increased enforcement that Werfel highlighted was the agency targeting those who may be trying to evade paying the self-employment tax using an exemption that applies specifically to limited partners, even though they don’t qualify as such.

“Our work in this area using new IRA [Inflation Reduction Act] funding has helped us increase our efforts, which now includes more than 80 audits,” he said.

Werfel also noted that the IRS’s efforts to examine partnerships more closely is ongoing, with 76 of the largest U.S. partnerships under audit. These partnerships, on average, have more than $10 billion in assets.

More broadly in the partnership arena, the IRS is “discovering that many entities have multimillion-dollar balance sheet discrepancies,” he said.“That’s important because such discrepancies are an indicator of potential noncompliance with their tax responsibilities.”

The agency has sent about 480 compliance alerts as of the end of October to partnerships where the discrepancies have been found.

In total, increased compliance efforts on millionaires though various initiatives has recovered $520 million in tax revenue, Werfel said.

And while he did not have any specific numbers on how the activity is affecting the tax gap, “we are seeing significant early indicators that our increased scrutiny and the way we’ve ben able to ramp up our efforts on high wealth is having an immediate impact.”

Werfel also added that, in the midst of ongoing budget negotiations, he hopes that between this and the improvements to customer service and greater information technology functionality, this will demonstrate the effects of the IRA funding and“there will be a need and a desire amongst policymakers to restore IRS funding so we can continue the momentum that’s having a very positive impact.”

By Gregory Twachtman, Washington News Editor