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The Fact-Checking Sector Investigates IRS Claims from the White House

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which President Joe Biden signed into law on Tuesday, included $80 billion in additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over the next ten years, a 53 per cent increase over the organization’s projected budgetary baseline. This provision was one of several provisions that Democrats favoured.

Everyone pays taxes, thus many people became concerned about what the law would entail for them because everyone pays taxes and because the bill’s passing hinged primarily on predictions that an expanded IRS would find and collect an additional $204 billion in already unpaid money.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) both made projections that the historic enforcement increase would not increase the audit rates for American households earning less than $400,000 per year, but the White House and Treasury Department made escalating claims in the lead-up to the bill’s final passage that contradicted those projections. This was done to calm public anxiety.

Meanwhile, opponents of the IRA have been criticizing it for paying “87,000 new IRS agents” and other such things, often in an exaggerated manner.


When given the option of examining either of these two broad categories—the arguments put forth by the executive branch to support a significant enforcement change that could have an impact on all adult residents of the United States or the opposition to those arguments made by losing Republican legislators—the fact-checking community continues, even after the bill was signed into law, to pick apart the petty details rather than taking on the giants.

Contrary to social media posts, the IRS will target “high income” tax evaders with new funding, according to, which was published on Thursday by The Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Rick Scott overstates the likelihood of an increase in employment at the IRS, according to PolitiFact, which was published by the Poynter Institute on Wednesday.

On Thursday, it published “Video misleads about the size of IRS, audits, and armed officers.” The fact-checking team at Agence France-Presse said on Tuesday that “Claims of an “IRS army” pursuing US taxpayers are false,” and on Thursday, they said, “US lawmaker misrepresents photographs supposed to show armed IRS recruits.”

Reuters published two articles on the subject on Wednesday: “Fact Check-The IRS is not hiring thousands of armed agents, job ads show opening for the specialized unit,” and “Fact Check-Social media posts miss key context on Inflation Reduction Act’s provision for thousands of new IRS agents.” On Friday, they added, “Republicans call it an army, but IRS hires will replace retirees, do IT, says Treasury.”

All of these (and numerous other comparable) fact-checking efforts by the mainstream media start with soundbites from the kinds of conservatives that the media finds unpleasant, not the disputed claims made by the winning White House and other major IRA supporters.

Customers who wanted to confirm the president’s statements were mainly limited to reading Breitbart News and other openly conservative publications.

This division, as well as the journalistic interest that is more slanted toward the use of rhetorical excesses than the exercise of power, is reminiscent of how professional fact-checking behaved before, during, and soon after Barack Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act.

Fact-checkers were then fixated on backbencher opposition to the point where Sarah Palin, who at the time held no official office, was given the award for PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” even though the then-president was habitually lying in plainly detectable ways about his health insurance plan.

In 2013, PolitiFact finally caught up with the president’s fabrications, at which point there was a brief period of self-reflection for the press community.

The mea culpa, however, did not contain nearly enough self-awareness about how Democratic politicians and operatives, coming as they do from basically the same class of people as national media, had been deliberately and successfully manipulating the refs, as I warned at the time.

That is how this week has gone. It’s not only that fact-checkers have been searching for conservative BS, which, when correctly found, is always acceptable to call out.

The problem is that they’re using statements made by the White House that are either not covered by the law or are deliberately misleading or downright untrue as proof to refute their claims.

For instance,’s article asserts at the opening that “most new workers” by the IRS “will perform customer services,” and then elaborates on the assertion further down:

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“With the help of these tools, the majority of the 50,000 IRS employees who are close to retiring have their positions filled. Most of the net new hires are made to enhance customer service, whether it be through IT upgrades or phone support “said a representative for the Treasury Department.

When you consider how the extra IRS money has been statutorily allotted, the speculative spin being repeated here is not fact-checking; rather, it is reiterating speculation.

The Inflation Reduction Act, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), allocates the $80 billion in additional IRS funding to the following four listed divisions: “enforcement” ($45.7 billion), “operations support” ($25.3 billion), “business systems modernization” ($4.7 billion), and “taxpayer services” ($3.2 billion):

The spokesperson for the Treasury Department would have us think that 50.01 per cent of the new jobs created by this $80 billion infusion will be filled by employees of the divisions getting just 10 per cent of the funds. That is simply untrustworthy, let alone as a foundation for refuting another person’s assertion of fact.

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