IRS not hiring 87,000 new agents to audit middle class

The Anti-Inflation Act provides approximately $80 billion in funding for the IRS. The agency is not using that money to hire 87,000 new accountants.

Congress recently passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which includes the federal government’s largest effort to combat climate change and aims to bring down the rising cost of goods while erasing the country’s debt. The legislation also allocates funds to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

After the Senate passed the law, persons on twitter claims that the funding would allow the IRS to increase scrutiny of America’s middle class by hiring 87,000 new agents.

“Are you making $75,000 or less? The Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will come for you — with 710,000 new audits for Americans making under $75,000,” wrote House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). in a tweet.

THE QUESTION

Is the IRS beefing up middle-class audits by hiring 87,000 new agents?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

That's wrong.

No, the IRS is not increasing middle-class audits by hiring 87,000 new agents.

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WHAT WE FOUND

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides about $80 billion in funding for the IRS over the next 10 years.

If the bill passes the House of Representatives and is signed into law, approximately $45.6 billion of that IRS funding would be used to spend on IRS tax enforcement services through September 2031, including hiring more employees. But the bill makes no mention that the agency will hire 87,000 new agents specifically tasked with audits — and the US Treasury Department says those claims are false.

The text of the Anti-Inflation Act does not specify a number of new hires for the IRS. The figure of 87,000 comes from a May 2021 Treasury Department report that estimated that more funding provided by President Joe Biden’s administration would allow the IRS to hire nearly 87,000 full-time employees by 2031.

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This report was specific to previous legislation and it is not yet clear how many people the IRS would hire to fund the Inflation Reduction Act.

In addition, the IRS expects a large number of employees to leave the company over the next 10 years and will hire new employees to fill these roles. At least 50,000 employees will leave or retire at the agency in the next five years alone, according to the Treasury Department.

These employees work in various departments of the IRS and are not solely responsible for enforcement. The IRS plans to finalize the final numbers and breakdown of potential new employees for the next decade in the coming months, but the addition of new employees will not mean increased scrutiny for America’s middle class, according to the Treasury Department and the IRS.

“New staff will be hired to improve services for taxpayers and experienced accountants who can take on corporate and high-end tax evaders without increasing audit rates compared to historical norms for individuals who make less than Make $400,000,” a Treasury Department spokesman said.

In a recent letter, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig assured Senate members that the IRS “will not increase auditing for small business or middle-income Americans.”

According to the Treasury Department spokesman, “Resources modernizing the IRS will be used to improve services to taxpayers, from answering phone calls to improving IT systems — and to crack down on high-income tax evaders and companies operating the American People hundreds of euros cost billions of dollars a year.”

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Previous agency analysis has indicated that the IRS needs more staff. National Taxpayer Attorney Erin M. Collins said in her mid-year report to Congress, released in June 2022, that many of the challenges the IRS faces “are due to understaffing, including limited staffing in filing processing and in telephone call centers”.

In 2021, the IRS had fewer than 80,000 employees, down nearly 13% since 2012, according to the agency’s website.

Rettig wrote in his letter that the IRS has “less experienced front-line examiners in this area than it has at any time since World War II and fewer staff than at any time since the 1970s.”

“Advancements in technology have been helpful, but have not kept up with the ever-growing responsibilities and challenges facing the IRS,” he said. “As a result, for too long the IRS has been unable to conduct meaningful and effective investigations of large corporations and wealthy taxpayers to ensure they are paying their fair share.”

VERIFY digital journalist Erin Jones contributed to this report.

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Alley Einstein

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