The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced to employees Tuesday that it will be undergoing a security review in response to alleged threats made against the agency.
“We are conducting a comprehensive review of existing safety and security measures,” explained a memo sent by IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “I will continue to advocate for your safety in every venue where I have an audience.”
Rettig further stated, “We see what’s out there in terms of social media. Our workforce is concerned about their safety … The comments being made are extremely disrespectful to the agency, to the employees, and to the country.”
This action by the IRS mirrors similar warnings by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI, as reported by The Dallas Express.
The IRS has been enduring increased criticism following the recent passage of the controversial Inflation Reduction Act, which increased funding for the agency by $80 billion, as reported by The Dallas Express.
The increased funding is supposed to go to hiring more agents and increasing enforcement measures in an effort to increase tax collection.
While the agency has claimed that its expanded capabilities will not be used on lower and middle-income Americans, some tax experts have claimed otherwise.
Joe Hinchman, the executive vice president at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, stated, “The IRS will have to target small and medium businesses because they won’t fight back. We’ve seen this play out before … the IRS says, ‘We’re going after the rich,’ but when you’re trying to raise that much money, the rich can only get you so far.”
Shortly after the Inflation Reduction Act became law, videos of IRS recruitment outreach programs showed students receiving firearms instruction from IRS investigators. Agency spokesman Justin Cole explained that the video showed “who we are and what we do.”
After this, attention turned toward the IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent job listing that required applicants to “carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary.” The agency then deleted the sentence despite a spokesman confirming that “it is part of the [job].”
National concern regarding the IRS has continued to rise, and over half of voters in a recent poll believe the agency would use the new funds to target “middle-class Americans, low-income earners, and small businesses; or to target the political opponents of those in power.”