Speaker McCarthy’s talk of the IRS hiring thousands of armed agents may be
more fear than fact. That’s because armed 2,100 “CI Division” agents work only
on cases where arrests are sometimes warranted. IRS does not arm its typical
field agents. To dispel disinformation about IRS agents, former IRS
Commissioner Chris Rettig wrote that increased IRS funding through the
Inflation Reduction Act will be used mostly to replace retiring employees (as
many as 50,000) and bring total employment nearly back up to 1993 levels
rather than to harass taxpayers.
Ultimately Congress wants to close an estimated $600 billion “tax gap.” The
tax gap is created by scofflaws, cheaters and under-reporters in addition to
inappropriate or inaccurate filings. To do that, IRS will focus on high-earners,
large corporations, and complex partnerships in addition to traces of obvious
fraud. That’s potentially good news if you’re a household making less than
$400,000 a year. The Inflation Reduction Act provided $4.8 billion to modernize
outdated phone systems and technology. Did you know that the IRS still uses
computers that rely on COBOL—a more-than 50-year-old computer
During the pandemic millions of tax refunds were caught in a massive IRS
backlog. An allocation for taxpayer services in the Inflation Reduction Act will be
used to improve customer service. That provides more people to answer the more
than two million phone calls that the IRS receives each day during tax season.
Hopefully most of us are safe from increased audit scrutiny. IRS has committed
to improved service in 2023. We’ll see.