Viral IRS firearm training images from 2017 college event

Viral videos and photos show a college program that gives students a day of IRS crime investigator experience. They were recorded in 2017.

Photos and videos purporting to show a training program by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division have gone viral, with some claiming the images were taken recently.

A tweet posted on Aug. 17 said the video showed “new IRS training.” Another tweet posted on the same day with the same video had more than 1 million views. This tweet has more than 46,000 views and says it’s an armed IRS training video and this one says it’s a “newly surfaced IRS training video”.

A number of false claims have been circulating lately about the IRS related to the funding it will receive from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. These alleged training images gained traction on social media after the Inflation Reduction Act 2022 came into force.

THE QUESTION

Do Viral IRS Video and Photos Show IRS Agent Training?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

That's wrong.

No, the viral IRS video and photos do not show IRS agent training. They are showing a one-day program for college students that simulates an IRS criminal investigation recorded at Stockton University in 2017.

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WHAT WE FOUND

The video and images were captured in October 2017 as part of an IRS-sponsored college program called the Adrian Project hosted for accounting students at Stockton University in New Jersey. The IRS conducts Adrian Project sessions for accounting students at universities across the country.

According to a Stockton University press release, 24 accounting students participated in a full-day simulation of a fictitious criminal investigation that may be conducted by the IRS’s criminal investigation department.

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) is a federal law enforcement agency that conducts criminal investigations into things like tax violations, money laundering, cybercrime, and organized crime involving drugs and gangs. There are more than 2,000 sworn special agents in the division.

A spokesman for the IRS told VERIFY that agents working under the Criminal Investigations Division are required to carry guns as part of their daily duties.

The 2017 event at Stockton University was created to introduce students to a different kind of career in accounting and to give students “a glimpse of a career path they might not have thought of,” according to the press release.

In the 2017 simulation, the day ended when students, armed with bright red or blue “handguns” and wearing bulletproof vests, rushed into a room to make “arrests,” the press release said.

The same people seen in the viral video and recently shared images with the same fake guns can also be seen in a YouTube video posted by Stockton University in October 2017.

Stockton University is based in Galloway, New Jersey. The IRS does not conduct its training in New Jersey. The National Criminal Investigation Training Academy (NCITA), which trains IRS agents, is located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.

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Alley Einstein

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