Paul Kiel

Reporter

Photo of Paul Kiel

Paul Kiel covers business 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.

The IRS Tried to Hide Emails That Show Tax Industry Influence Over Free File Program

After ProPublica sued the IRS, the agency released emails that show it has allowed the tax preparation industry to write the rules.

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

Using lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks, Intuit fended off the government’s attempts to make tax filing free and easy, and created its multi-billion-dollar franchise.

The Bailout Was 11 Years Ago. We’re Still Tracking Every Penny.

Over a decade ago, we started a database to track TARP, the 2008 bailout of the financial system. It turns out bailouts are forever, and we’re still updating the damn thing. So, recently, we decided to give it a makeover.

Bailout Tracker: See Where More Than $600 Billion Went

ProPublica is still tracking where every dollar of taxpayer money from the 2008 bailout of the financial system has gone. See for yourself.

IRS: Sorry, but It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the Poor

Congress asked the IRS to report on why it audits the poor more than the affluent. Its response is that it doesn’t have enough money and people to audit the wealthy properly. So it’s not going to.

Trump’s Tax Law Threatened TurboTax’s Profits. So the Company Started Charging the Disabled, the Unemployed and Students.

The move by TurboTax maker Intuit to charge more lower-income customers has helped boost revenue.

It’s Getting Worse: The IRS Now Audits Poor Americans at About the Same Rate as the Top 1%

As the agency’s ability to audit the rich crumbles, its scrutiny of the poor has held steady in recent years. Meanwhile, a new study shows that audits of poor taxpayers make them far less likely to claim credits they might be entitled to.

Elizabeth Warren and Other Senators Call for Refunds and Investigations of TurboTax and H&R Block

In letters to the IRS and the FTC, the senators are seeking inquiries into whether the companies have deceived customers and violated restraint-of-trade laws.

You Can’t Tax the Rich Without the IRS

Until the budget-starved agency is restored, corporations and the wealthy will easily fend off attempts to increase the rates they pay.

¿Qué personas tienen mayor probabilidad de ser sometidas a auditoría? ¿Alguien que gane $20 mil dólares o alguien que gane $400 mil?

Si usted reclama el crédito por ingreso del trabajo (Earned Income Tax Credit – EITC), cuyo beneficiario promedio gana menos de $20,000 dólares anuales, tiene una mayor probabilidad de enfrentarse a un escrutinio de parte del IRS comparado con alguien que gane veinte veces más. ¿Cómo es que un beneficio para los trabajadores pobres se ha estado ejecutando en contra de ellos?

TurboTax and H&R Block Saw Free Tax Filing as a Threat — and Gutted It

An internal document and current and former company employees show the companies steered customers away from the government-sponsored free option and made them pay.

Many People are Too Broke for Bankruptcy. A New Report Suggests Some Fixes.

For many people, filing for bankruptcy is a luxury that’s out of reach. A new report by the primary bankruptcy professional organization is full of recommendations that, if implemented, could help change that.

Lawmakers Just Confronted the IRS Over Tax Audits That Target the Poor

Following up on ProPublica stories about the IRS, lawmakers pressed the commissioner on the agency’s disproportionate focus on auditing the working poor while examinations of the rich plummeted.

Alabama Senator to the IRS: Stop Picking on the South

Why are the rural poor audited more frequently than other groups, he asks, citing ProPublica. Another Democratic senator adds, “There are two tax codes in America, and there are also two enforcement regimes.”

The IRS Tried to Take on the Ultrawealthy. It Didn’t Go Well.

Ten years ago, the tax agency formed a special team to unravel the complex tax-lowering strategies of the nation’s wealthiest people. But with big money — and Congress — arrayed against the team, it never had a chance.

Where in the U.S. Are You Most Likely to Be Audited by the IRS?

A new study shows dramatic regional differences in who gets audited. The hardest hit? Poor workers across the country.

Senators Urge IRS to Focus on Big-Time Tax Cheats, Citing ProPublica Stories

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and three fellow senators say the agency should do more to tackle financial crimes, even in the face of crippling budget cuts.

Who’s More Likely to Be Audited: A Person Making $20,000 — or $400,000?

If you claim the earned income tax credit, whose average recipient makes less than $20,000 a year, you’re more likely to face IRS scrutiny than someone making twenty times as much. How a benefit for the working poor was turned against them.

How the IRS Was Gutted

An eight-year campaign to slash the agency’s budget has left it understaffed, hamstrung and operating with archaic equipment. The result: billions less to fund the government. That’s good news for corporations and the wealthy.

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