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Have gun, will audit: With 87K new IRS agents, how many will be armed?

Among the duties of an IRS criminal investigation special agent: ‘Carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary’

When one hears of plans for 87,000 new IRS agents anticipated in the new spending plan working its way through Congress, it’s easy to think of rows and rows of desks staffed by bean counters. And there will be some of those.

But how many of the 87,000 new IRS agents will be of the gun-toting variety? A recent job posting from the agency raises that question. The spending bill hasn’t been passed into law, so details are few. But the announcement suggests what some of those new employees may do.

The posting is for IRS criminal investigation special agents. These are not the people who will review your tax forms. They are armed law enforcement officers who will be dispatched to the homes and businesses of alleged lawbreakers.

In 2021, the IRS criminal investigations unit initiated 1,372 investigations into alleged tax crimes, for which 633 people were sentenced, according to the IRS annual report. The IRS investigated another 1,209 potential crimes not involving taxes, such as money laundering, for which 635 people were sentenced.

All of those numbers are likely to go up if the criminal investigations team in the IRS gets even a fraction of the 87,000 new agents.

Among the major duties of the job, according to the posting:

  • Maintain a level of fitness necessary to effectively respond to life-threatening situations on the job.
  • Carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary.
  • Be willing and able to participate in arrests, execution of search warrants, and other dangerous assignments.

President Joe Biden and his administration have argued that the new IRS employees will target the rich and wealthy.

But the Joint Committee on Taxation, a congressional committeee, found that as much as 57% of the funds to be raised by the new enforcement push will come from people making $50,000 per year, or less.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.