Stiffing Uncle Sam at tax time

Released: 
April 17, 2013

More than 16 million individuals and businesses owed the IRS $373 billion in unpaid federal taxes in 2011.

Like the majority of Americans, you probably filed your taxes by April 15 or applied for an extension. If you owed money, you wrote out a check and sent it along to the IRS. But for a portion of the population, no checks were written, and the IRS is having an increasingly difficult time collecting.

More than 16 million individuals and businesses owed the IRS $373 billion in unpaid federal taxes in 2011.

2.9 million businesses accounted for $115 billion of this outstanding debt. 13.5 million individual filers owed the rest.

Some of the payment-due bills were small, under $5,000 but most debts were over $25,000. At the high end, 24 individuals and 57 businesses each had unpaid federal tax bills topping $1 million.

The IRS uses substantial resources to collect these debts, but admits it cant recover all the money. In 2011, the IRS wrote off $117 billion as uncollectible.

Check out our infographic for more on tax scofflaws. See What Do Others Say for more perspective, then add to the discussion below. Are you surprised by todays fact? Did you know there were so many tax cheats costing the government that much money?