New York Times snockered by innumeracy again

I.R.S. Scrutiny of Big Firms Plummets, Study Says – New York Times

Despite the shift in focus, the I.R.S. is bringing in more money from corporations of all sizes through audits. Last year it brought in more than $59 billion in unpaid tax revenues, according to agency statistics. That is nearly twice the level of 1998 and is consistent with a steady climb since then.

Larry Langdon, who ran the I.R.S.’s large and midsize business division from 1999 to 2003, called those amounts “phenomenal” and said that the number of dollars brought in, rather than the type or size of company audited or the amount of time spent on audits, might be a better indicator of how well the I.R.S. is doing.

They brought in more money with audits than they did 10 years ago? Gosh, do you think that might be because corporate gross income and profits also went up? A quick search shows that reported (ahem) corporate profits almost exactly doubled between 1997 and 2006, so if the auditors’ take only “nearly” doubled in that time, they’re not even keeping up, much less making headway.

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