The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is looking to hire armed agents in all 50 states with the power to arrest those suspected of tax evasion, according to a posting on the agency’s website.
The Criminal Investigation (CI) division, which serves as the law enforcement arm of the IRS, is seeking candidates for roles around the country. Within the CI division, only the IRS special agents are legally authorized to carry and use firearms. They investigate a wide range of financial crimes, including money laundering, tax-related identity theft, and terrorist financing activities.
All successful applicants will be required to carry a firearm and “must be prepared to protect him/herself or others from physical attacks at any time and without warning and use firearms in life-threatening situations; must be willing to use force up to and including the use of deadly force,” according to the website listing.
Agents must also be “willing and able to participate in arrests, execution of search warrants, and other dangerous assignments.” while maintaining “a level of fitness necessary to effectively respond to life-threatening situations on the job.”
The listing was first reported by the organization Americans for Tax Reform, whose columnist John Kartch criticized the proposal as providing providing “no new protections for taxpayers.”
“Combined with the IRS history of firearms mismanagement and lack of respect for due process, this is cause for concern among law abiding Americans,” Kartch noted. Among his principal complaints include claims the IRS fails to ensure agents receive adequate firearms training, the prevalence of accidents, and the agency’s history of violating due process.
The IRS received an $80 billion cash boost last year as part of the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by Joe Biden, which included a plan to hire 87,000 IRS employees over the next decade. The funding has raised alarm within conservative and libertarian circles, who fear the additional manpower will be weaponized to target ordinary, hardworking Americans.
In January, Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) released data provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on audits conducted by the IRS in the 2022 fiscal year that found the agency overwhelmingly targeted poor and low-income households for harassment. The report similarly found that fewer audits were conducted on millionaires and billionaires:
The taxpayer class with unbelievably high audit rates—five and a half times virtually everyone else—were low-income wage-earners taking the earned income tax credit. [Poorer households] are easy marks in an era when IRS increasingly relies upon correspondence audits yet doesn’t have the resources to assist taxpayers or answer their questions.
If one ignores the fiction of auditing a millionaire through simply sending a letter through the mail, the odds that millionaires received a regular audit by a revenue agent (1.1%) was actually less than the audit rate of the targeted lowest income wage-earners whose audit rate was 1.27 percent.
The IRS is notorious around the world for its cutthroat methods of tax collection as well as for targeting those perceived as hostile to the federal government. As outlined by Foundation for Economic Education, during the Obama presidency the agency “specifically targeted conservative nonprofit groups” and “illegally leaked the private tax documents of wealthy private citizens—who weren’t breaking any laws—to the media in order to make a political, partisan point in favor of increasing taxes on the rich.”