Now that Darth Garland’s grand inquisitors have raided Donald Trump’s Florida flop house, Republicans are also warning Americans about Emperor Joe Biden’s IRS stormtroopers. Yes, Democrats are amassing an army of 87,000 agents for the Internal Revenue Service, and they’re coming for YOU! an average person who fills out the EZ-BROKE-ASS form.
Marco Rubio, who sounds more like your annoying rightwing brother-in-law than an actual sitting United States senator, tweeted Monday: “After todays (sic) raid on Mar A Lago, what do you think the left plans to use those 87,000 new IRS agents for?"
After todays raid on Mar A Lago what do you think the left plans to use those 87,000 new IRS agents for?— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio) 1660003933
If you’re wondering what possible connection a legal FBI search could have with a proposed staff increase at the IRS, congratulations, your brain’s not permanently damaged by repeated exposure to Tucker Carlson.
The Republicans’ repeated claim about “87,000 IRS agents” is what those in the fact-checking game would call “bullshit.” Yes, the Inflation Reduction Act, the Democrats’ badass climate, healthcare, and tax package, will provide the IRS with about $78 billon over the next 10 years. That includes a spooky $45.6 billion set aside for “enforcement.”
BUT, as Time reports, the IRS would use the funds to hire an estimated 87,000 employees by 2031. Most of those hires wouldn’t be Internal Revenue agents or even new positions.The IRS isn’t building an army of tax collectors. It’s slowly restoring its staff to where it was a decade ago. During the Trump administration, there was a systemic GOP effort to weaken the agency. Trump himself is a shameless tax evader.
According to a Treasury Department official, the wide range of positions includes IT technicians, taxpayer services support staff, and experienced auditors. These folks might not thrill at parties but they’d help crack down on corporate and high-income tax evaders. So, no, they’re not actually coming for you, normal citizen. Well, at least, no more than usual.
The IRS currently audits families earning less than $25,000 in gross receipts at five times the rate of everyone else. Most of these audits are what’s known as “correspondence audits,” where the IRS sends a letter requesting documentation on a specific line item on a return. We should also stress that rich assholes like Republican Sen. Rick Scott want poor people to pay even more taxes! That extra pound of flesh will ensure they have “skin in the game.”
No, all the fuss about the zombie IRS army feels more like concern that Republicans’ wealthy donors might start feeling the heat. This morning on Fox News, Dana Perino suggested that the IRS’s increased staff would “double” the chance that you’ll get audited. “Have you ever been audited?” Perino asked Biden’s economic adviser Jared Bernstein, who didn’t evade the question by claiming it violated his "HIPAA rights.” He answered, "I’ve never been audited. I actually have a great record in paying my taxes, and most people listening to my voice would say the same thing."
\u201cBiden economic adviser Jared Bernstein: "Here is the thing. You shouldn\u2019t evade your taxes. There is my public service announcement. It is illegal to evade taxes."\n\nFox News anchor Dana Perino: "Nobody is advocating that."\u201d— Justin Baragona (@Justin Baragona) 1660143212
Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer whined that people who are audited have to “prove their innocence.” The drama queen exaggerates slightly. Audits determine the accuracy of the tax documents you filed. The “honor system” for tax collection probably wouldn’t work. Bernstein insisted again that “most people” haven’t been audited. The 2020 IRS Data Book states that the chances of an audit are .6 percent or one out of ever 166 returns, and less than two percent of those audits lead to financial penalties.
However, audits are annoying and time-consuming. Jonah Goldberg said he’d rather be stopped and frisked than audited, but it’s possible that he’s incredibly white.
\u201cI'd love to ask some of these people saying "unless you're a criminal, you have no reason to worry" what they think of stop-and-frisk laws or no-knock warrants (I'd much rather be unfairly frisked than unfairly audited) 4/\u201d— Jonah Goldberg (@Jonah Goldberg) 1659989505
Bernstein told what I’m sure was a receptive Fox News audience: "Here is the thing. You shouldn’t evade your taxes. There is my public service announcement. It is illegal to evade taxes.” He clarified that the IRA will reverse longtime defunding of the IRS, which he called a “shadow tax cut for wealthy tax evaders.” However, it won’t increase the audit rate for families making less than $400,000 a year.
Bernstein hammered the point that the IRA is focused on making sure "the top one percent pay the taxes they owe.” Then he asked Hemmer and Perino if they “objected” to the wealthiest Americans paying their taxes, and Hemmer just cut to the commercial like a coward. Bernstein’s pretty good at this.
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