GOP Making Misleading Claims on IRA’s IRS Budget

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Republicans are distorting how the major economic bill making its way through Congress would reform the IRS and affect taxes for the middle class. 

Senator John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) claimed the recent economic bill passed by the Senate will double the size of the IRS. Kennedy claimed the IRS would have “more agents, or soldiers, than the entire Israeli army.” 

But a fact check says the GOP is skewing the budget bill’s impact on the IRS and taxes. 

The “Inflation Reduction Act,” which is currently awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives today and expected to pass after passing in the Senate on Sunday, would increase the ranks of the IRS, but would not create a mob of armed auditors seeking out the middle-class taxpayer to harass. 

Kennedy’s random comparison, therefore, does not ring true, as the IDF currently has more than double the amount of active personnel that the IRS has employees. 

The IRS currently has about 80,000 employees, according to news estimates. This includes enforcement officers, but also clerical workers, customer service representatives, and other roles within the organization. 

The IDF is estimated to have approximately 169,000 active personnel, according to a 2021 assessment by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. 

The Inflation Reduction Act, making its way through Congress to become a law, includes provisions meant to fund an increased effort to crack down on high-level tax evasion. 

The Inflation Reduction Act has been a partisan bill. The Senate passed the bill last week down party lines of 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tie-breaking vote. 

The bill is now awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass today. 

Misleading statements by GOP members such as Sen. Ted Cruz and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are making their way into social media and the news. Cruz said the bill will create 87,000 new IRS agents to “target” Americans. McCarthy said people making $75,000 or less will be targeted by a “new army of 87,000 IRS agents.” 

The facts are, this is misleading. Last year, the Treasury Department proposed a plan to hire roughly that many IRS employees over the coming decade if the budget for their organization allowed. The final numbers for hiring plans will be released in the coming months, but those employees would not be hired all at the same time, and they would not all be auditors. Many are also replacement employees for those expected to retire or leave the agency. 

The money for the IRS will pay for other improvements, including a revamp of technology. 

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