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NextGen Magazine

 
 

Humphreys County, Mississippi, Is the Most Heavily Audited in U.S.

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 4, 2019
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A recent study looking at the geographic distribution of IRS audits has found that Humphreys County in Mississippi has more audits than anywhere else in the country, according to ProPublica. In this county, known for its catfish farms, 11.8 per 1,000 returns are audited, well over the national average of 7.7 per 1,000. ProPublica said that this is not despite, but because of, the fact that one-third of the population is below the poverty line. More than half of the county’s taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit (EITC), and EITC audits are some of the most common undertaken by the IRS. The county's audit rate is 51 percent higher than that of Loudoun County, Virginia, which, at $130,000, has the highest median income in the country. This is part of an overall pattern, as the top five countries in terms of audits are all predominantly African-American, rural and poor. By contrast, the counties with the lowest audit rates tend to be middle income and mostly white. 

IRS audits in general have been dropping since 2010 due to relentless budget cuts, but the share of wealthy Americans facing an audit has dropped even further. Of the 504,278 returns filed by individuals worth $1 million or more last year, 16,305 were audited, the lowest rate in close to a decade. The year 2012 saw the largest number of audits of millionaires since 2010: 40,965.