A new paper published by the Institute for Economic Policy Research finds that the Internal Revenue Service disproportionately audits Black taxpayers.
The authors of the paper assert that the racial disparity in audit selection can be attributed to internal IRS algorithms that are not disclosed to the public.
“To better understand this audit selection bias, the research team modeled the racial impact that various alternative audit selection policies might have. The result: a demonstration of how the IRS might be able to tweak its secret algorithm to reduce its racially disparate impact,” according to a news release of the findings.
“Our results highlight how seemingly technocratic choices about algorithmic design can embed important policy values and trade-offs,” the authors determined in their paper.
The paper involved the examination of differences of audit rates between Black and non-Black taxpayers.
The paper was published online in January of 2023.