The Wall Street Journal, along with its article on the IRS targeting "rich" taxpayers for audits (Forbes had a similar article last week), has a copy of a nine page, 47-question "information document request" that one taxpayer received from the IRS. The story doesn't mention General Electric, but it made me think of GE's 975-person tax department in a somewhat different light than did the New York Times article that reported it. After all, if the IRS is showering requests like this on taxpayers — at some large companies, the IRS even has full-time teams of auditors on site who work full time on just those companies — it's a labor-intensive task simply to respond to the requests, let alone dream up ways of lowering a company's tax exposure. The "information document request" is also interesting reading in the context of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's claim that the American income tax system is "voluntary."
What the IRS Wants to Know