Paul Kiel

Reporter

Photo of Paul Kiel

Paul Kiel covers business and consumer finance for ProPublica. His focus this year is on the IRS and its ability to administer the nation's tax laws.

In recent years, his work has helped spur a $135 million settlement by a subprime lender for alleged abuses against service members, legislation in Congressa federal investigation of a high-cost lenderstate rule changes and the forgiveness of $17 million in medical bills by a nonprofit hospital.

Past areas of focus have included the foreclosure crisishigh-cost lending (particularly installment and payday loans), the widespread use of lawsuits and garnishments to collect consumer debts, and the consumer bankruptcy system.

His work has appeared in several newspapers, including The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has also produced stories for National Public Radio and American Public Media’s Marketplace, as well as appeared on This American Life.

Among other honors, his work has been awarded a Philip Meyer Award by Investigative Reporters and Editors, a Scripps Howard Award, a Best in Business Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Online News Association’s Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, and a National Press Club Award. His e-book on the foreclosure crisis was featured in The Best Business Writing 2013.

Justice Department Is Scrutinizing Takeover of Credit Karma by Intuit, Maker of TurboTax

The antitrust probe comes after ProPublica detailed how the takeover could reduce competition in the tax prep business.

Different Names, Same Address: How Big Businesses Got Government Loans Meant for Small Businesses

ProPublica found at least 15 large companies that received over half a billion dollars in PPP loans using the same technique: Getting multiple loans sent to smaller entities they own.

Trump Administration Discloses Some Recipients of $670 Billion Small Business Bailout

After resisting its release, the administration revealed information on companies that received more than $150,000 in PPP funds.

Has the IRS Hit Bottom?

Every year, the IRS annual report is an opportunity to measure how effectively the U.S. government has sabotaged its own ability to enforce its tax laws. This year’s report signals historic lows for U.S. tax enforcement.

Stop Seizing Paychecks, Senators Write to Capital One and Other Debt Collectors

Wage garnishments ordered before the pandemic started have continued for many workers during the recession. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown have demanded an end to the practice.

Capital One and Other Debt Collectors Are Still Coming for Millions of Americans

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Americans got protection from evictions, foreclosures and student debt. But debt collectors have continued to siphon off their share of paychecks from those who still have jobs.

The Trump Administration Says a New Bailout Program Will Help 35 Million Americans. It Probably Won’t.

Experts from across the political spectrum fear that the Federal Reserve’s new Main Street Lending program won’t reach enough businesses or save enough jobs.

ProPublica Joins News Organizations in Suing for Small Business Program Loan Info

The Small Business Administration, which is administering the lending program, has said it will disclose the names of companies that got loans — just not yet. News organizations are suing to stop the delay.

Did Your Company Get Bailout Money? Are the Employees Benefiting From It?

How has your company treated its workers during the crisis? As bailout money in the form of huge loan programs reaches to your company, what are you watching for or worried about?

Millions of People Face Stimulus Check Delays for a Strange Reason: They Are Poor

The IRS has had trouble getting money to people quickly because millions of Americans pay for their tax preparation through a baroque system of middlemen.

Millions of Americans Might Not Get Stimulus Checks. Some Might Be Tricked Into Paying TurboTax to Get Theirs.

Congress gave the IRS the job of sending out coronavirus rescue checks. But the underfunded agency is struggling, while for-profit companies like Intuit have started circling, hoping to convert Americans in need into paying customers.

For Americans With Bills to Pay, Help Is on the Way. Sort Of.

Politicians have touted debt relief, but the various proposals are patchwork. Many homeowners and renters won’t get much help; those struggling with credit card, car and other loan payments will get none.

Having Trouble With Your Rent, Mortgage or Debts? We Want to Hear From You.

Will banks, landlords and other debt collectors work with people who’ve lost income because of the coronavirus crisis? Help us find out.

We Tracked the Last Time the Government Bailed Out the Economy. Here’s What to Know About the $1 Trillion Coronavirus Plan.

A decade ago, the government spent more than $1 trillion to bail out companies and stimulate the economy. What have we learned since then?

TurboTax’s Bid to Buy Free Tax Prep Competitor Might Violate Antitrust Law, Experts Say

“Allowing a near-monopolist to eliminate a maverick competitor poses obvious risks of harm,” said one former DOJ lawyer of Intuit’s proposed Credit Karma acquisition. “It’s hard to imagine any reason why this should be allowed.”

How Much Did It Cost to File Your Taxes?

Did you file with H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty Tax or another preparer? Help us report on what Americans really paid for tax help.

TurboTax and Others Charged at Least 14 Million Americans for Tax Prep That Should Have Been Free, Audit Finds

Tax software companies made around $1 billion in revenue by charging people who were eligible to file for free.

Who’s Afraid of the IRS? Not Facebook.

The social media behemoth is about to face off with the tax agency in a rare trial to capture billions that the IRS thinks Facebook owes. But onerous budget cuts have hamstrung the agency’s ability to bring the case.

The IRS Decided to Get Tough Against Microsoft. Microsoft Got Tougher.

For years, the company has moved billions in profits to Puerto Rico to avoid taxes. When the IRS pushed it to pay, Microsoft protested that the agency wasn’t being nice. Then it aggressively fought back in court, lobbied Congress and changed the law.

IRS Reforms Free File Program, Drops Agreement Not to Compete With TurboTax

The changes come after ProPublica’s reporting showed how TurboTax maker Intuit tricked customers into paying for tax prep they could have gotten for free.

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