Is the IRS Getting Smarter or is The IRS Attacking the Wealthy Yet Again?

Is the IRS Getting Smarter or is The IRS Attacking the Wealthy Yet Again?

Last year, I wrote that it was inevitable that Estate Audits were Going to Increase.  The reason Estate Audits were going to increase was inevitable - there were/are less people who are subject to the estate tax, but no auditors were being fired (i.e. they have nothing else to do lol). Well it seems that there is another attack on legal estate planning.  As highlighted by Martin Vaughn of the the Wall Street Journal, in a short article titled, IRS Brings New Focus to Auditing the Rich; the IRS has a new tool against the evil rich.

Dubbed the Global High Wealth Industry group, the unit will launch “a small number” of audits of individuals with assets or income in the tens of millions of dollars, Mr. Shulman told an accountants’ trade group. An IRS official said the group would begin work on these initial audits in the next month.

The high-wealth group, housed in the IRS’s large- and medium-sized business division, marks a sharpening of the IRS approach to auditing the very wealthy. Its creation is a response to the complex web of entities and transactions many high-net-worth individuals use to manage their financial affairs.

What is the Global High Wealth Industry Group?

According to Nasdaq,

Its creation is a response to the complex web of entities and transactions many high-net-worth individuals use to manage their financial affairs.

I couldn’t find any information about the Global High Wealth Industry Group on the IRS.gov website, but I have mixed feelings about this move:

  • On one hand, the oversight on complex transactions such as FLP, limited partnerships, and other advanced gifting techniques could probably use some help, and putting those agents who know what they are doing could be a good thing for the IRS.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND

  • Is this another blatant attack on the wealthy? The wealthy will have to incur a normal audit, this heightened audit and then when they die, their estate will get audited one more time?

What are your thoughts?

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