Concerns about armed IRS officers harming regular taxpayers have been raised by certain Republican senators and other critics.
After some Republicans claimed that the IRS would utilise a significant increase in cash from Congress to target average Americans, the agency is examining the security at all of its buildings.
New threats against the IRS and its employees, as well as “an excess of misinformation and fraudulent social media postings,” were mentioned in a statement from IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig to employees.
Rettig has initiated a thorough evaluation of IRS security that will look at ways to boost lighting and safety and work more closely with federal Homeland Security officials and local police.
Rettig promised in his statement, “I will continue to push for your safety in any forum where I have an audience.”
The review was requested in a letter to Rettig from the head of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents hundreds of IRS employees, a representative for the union said on Monday.
The president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Tony Reardon, commented, “Too many times in the past, we have seen anti-government, anti-worker rhetoric spark violent attacks on innocent federal employees.”
Republicans have taken a variety of tacks in their criticism of the $80 billion in additional funding for the IRS that Democrats provided in the Inflation Reduction Act, including casting doubt on Democratic claims that taxpayers with annual incomes of less than $400,000 are not at a greater audit risk.
They’ve also voiced concern that the tax collector, with its newfound resources, may add tens of thousands of extra workers over a decade.
The IRS leadership, IRS personnel, and their advocates are increasingly alarmed by the sentiments of some GOP officials who have gone further.
Republicans in high places have argued the IRS’s long-standing criminal investigative branch is stocked to the gills with evidence.
During an appearance on Fox News last month, former Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) speculated about the possibility of an IRS “strike force” being ready “to shoot some small business guy in Iowa.”
Some Republicans have tried to connect the FBI raid on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Florida mansion and the IRS’s weapons budget.
The IRS is involved in investigations of drug trafficking and other crimes that may include extensive tax evasion and money laundering, in addition to the ordinary enforcement of tax laws.