The thoroughness of Internal Revenue Service enforcement efforts for the nation’s largest corporations, measured by the number of hours devoted to each audit, has substantially declined since Fiscal 2002, according to data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. 

The data also show that the annual audit rate for these corporations, all with assets of $250 million or more, while increasing in FY 2004 and 2005 has now receded to about the level it was in 2002 and is much lower than levels that prevailed a decade ago. Although the number of the largest corporations is small, these corporations play a significant role in the American economy.  In a recent year, said TRAC, they controlled 90 percent of all corporate assets and received 87 percent of all the corporate income.

TRAC said that in 2002, an average of 1,210 hours were devoted to each of the audits of the corporations.  However, as a result of the IRS push to increase “coverage” of the number of large corporations audited, the time spent for each audit dropped sharply in 2004, and remained at this lower level through the period of 2006 for which data is available.

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