After years of cutbacks, the IRS plans to add as many as 700 new staffers this year to chase after tax cheats.

Going back to 2010, the number of revenue officers responsible for placing liens on taxpayer properties and forcing them to pay up has been slashed by 15 percent. Similarly, the workforce, including revenue agents, who conducts audits of individual and business taxpayers, suffered a 16 percent reduction during the same time period. As a result of these cutbacks, the audit rate for individuals dropped to 0.84 percent last year, its lowest level in more than a decade. This was the third consecutive year showing an audit rate of less than one percent.

This decision comes on the grounds that the IRS Commissioner claims that every dollar invested in the IRS returns at least $4 to the Treasury. He says the number is even higher when it involves enforcement.

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The first group of new-hires is expected to be announced in several weeks. The employees will be assigned to the department with oversight of self-employed taxpayers and small business owners. Other high-level enforcement positions will be filled later in the year.

Fact of the matter is that the overall chance of being audited is slim for most taxpayers. However, it appears that your odds may be getting slightly worse, which is all the more reason to seek proper professional guidance and assistance with the preparation of your upcoming tax return filings.

For any additional information relative to the content above, or for tax filing assistance, please feel free to email me directly at mike@mlcpanj.com or call our office at 908-680-6185. Visit Mannuzza & Lamela, LLC on the web at www.mlcpanj.com

Mannuzza & Lamela, LLC, certified public accountants and consultants, are located at 1906 Westfield Ave., Suite B in Scotch Plains.