September 28,2023

Finance Chair Wyden Reveals Shocking New Data About Wealthy Individuals Who Have Failed to File Tax Returns; Nearly 1,000 millionaires Have Not Filed Returns and Owe Estimated $34 billion in Taxes; Few Wealthy Non-Filers Are Prosecuted

Wyden Urges IRS Enforcement on Every Millionaire Who Does not File Tax Returns, in Letter To IRS Commissioner

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., renewed his call for the Internal Revenue Service to step up enforcement against wealthy individuals who fail to file tax returns, following the release of new IRS data that shows brazen disregard for federal tax laws by hundreds of wealthy families. The IRS data also reveals that thousands of wealthy Americans are actively committing tax evasion yet few have been held accountable.  

“Over the last decade, Congressional Republicans have led the push to cut IRS resources in order to let wealthy tax cheats off the hook—and according to this data they’ve succeeded,” Wyden wrote to IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “Odds are, if you’re a wealthy tax cheat that doesn’t even bother to file a tax return, you’ll get away with it.”

Wyden’s investigation found that nearly 1,000 taxpayers who make more than $1 million a year failed to file tax returns over multiple recent years, potentially owing $34 billion in taxes that could fund crucial priorities or reduce the federal deficit. 

According to IRS data, the top 500 high-income individuals who still have not filed returns for each year from 2017 to 2020 owed $923 million and yet were unlikely to face serious consequences. Only 2 of those 2,000 individuals were in active criminal investigation and only 58 have been subjected to financial penalties such as liens or levies. 

“This data makes clear that despite current political narratives peddled by my Republican colleagues, it remains exceedingly rare that wealthy individuals are subject to prosecution for willful failure to file violations, and thousands continue to evade responsibility for failure to file,” Wyden continued. “I urge the IRS to initiate enforcement actions against every single millionaire non-filer as part of its ongoing effort to use Inflation Reduction Act funding to restore fairness in tax compliance.”

The full letter to the IRS is available here.