Check: IRS claim in Tiffany Smiley campaign ad

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Are new IRS agents being sent in to force families earning less than $75,000 to pay for someone else’s law degree?

SEATTLE — Nearly 30 viewers emailed KING 5 asking us to review an ad from Tiffany Smiley’s “Smiley for Washington” campaign.

Smiley, seen standing with Lumen Field in the background, said: “…I think it’s insane that Joe Biden and Patty Murray are sending a stadium full of new IRS agents to force families earning less than 75,000 $ to pay for someone else’s law degree.

The ad also shows text next to it that says “87,000 IRS agents to harass the middle class.”

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THE QUESTION

Are (87,000) new IRS agents sent in to force families earning less than $75,000 to pay for someone else’s law degree?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This claim combines two separate pieces of legislation (the Inflation Reduction Act and the Student Loan Forgiveness Executive Order) and because the language in the ad only refers to the numbers of the Reduction Act of inflation, we can say that the claims in the ad are false and lack context.

WHAT WE FOUND

In August, President Joe Biden signed into law the Cut Inflation Act of 2022.

The legislation includes the largest-ever federal effort to combat climate change and aims to reduce rising commodity costs while paying down the nation’s debt.

The bill also includes about $80 billion in funding for the IRS over the next 10 years. About $45.6 billion of this IRS funding will be used to spend IRS tax enforcement services through September 2031, including hiring more employees. But the legislation does not mention that the agency will hire 87,000 new officers specifically to carry out audits – and the US Treasury Department says these claims are false.

The text of the Inflation Reduction Act does not specify the number of new hires for the IRS. The 87,000 number appears in a May 2021 report from the Treasury Department that estimated that more funds allocated by President Joe Biden’s administration would allow the IRS to hire nearly 87,000 full-time employees by 2031, if it received $80 billion in funding.

This report was specific to previous legislation and it is not yet clear how many people the IRS would hire with the Inflation Reduction Act funding.

Additionally, the IRS expects a large number of employees to leave over the next 10 years and will be hiring new employees to fill these roles. At least 50,000 staff will leave or retire from the agency in the next five years alone, according to the Treasury Department.

These staff members work in various departments of the IRS and are not solely responsible for law enforcement. Adding new employees won’t mean increased audits for middle-class Americans, according to the Treasury and the IRS.

“New staff will be hired to improve taxpayer services and experienced auditors capable of tackling high-end businesses and tax evaders, without increasing audit rates from historical standards for people earning less than 400 $000 a year,” a Treasury Department spokesperson said.

In a letter sent in August, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig also assured members of the Senate that the IRS “would not increase audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans.”

According to the Treasury Department spokesperson, “Resources to modernize the IRS will be used to improve taxpayer services, from answering the phone to improving computer systems – and to crack down on high-income tax evaders. and businesses that cost the American people hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

Regarding the claim that IRS agents were sent in to force families earning less than $75,000 to pay for someone else’s law degree, the Smiley Campaign told KING 5 Smiley was referring to President Biden’s executive order on student loan forgiveness, in addition to the Inflation Reduction Act.

When we asked Smiley’s Campaign why it combined the two pieces of legislation, it replied to KING 5: “Student loan forgiveness is included because any deficit reduction achieved by the IRA was completely erased by the President’s Executive Order Biden”.

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