The IRS is attempting to hire individuals qualified to wield firearms for the tax collection agency’s Criminal Unit as enforcement activities are expected to increase amid a recent funding windfall.
Candidates for the special agent position, which is the only job at the IRS where employees are permitted to carry guns, will be expected to combine their “accounting skills with law enforcement skills to investigate financial crimes,” according to a posting on the IRS website. Individuals interested in the job must be “legally allowed to carry a firearm” and “maintain a level of fitness necessary to effectively respond to life-threatening situations on the job.”
Those who work for the Criminal Unit must also be able to “use firearms in life-threatening situations” to the point of “deadly force.” There are roughly 360 vacancies for the position in some 250 locations across the United States, according to the job application link, which said that salaries for the position range between $53,900 and $94,200.
The job posting from the IRS occurs as the agency works to double its headcount over the next decade as a result of the $80 billion windfall allocated through the Inflation Reduction Act. The IRS will hire for the position, in which staff members must work at least 50 hours each week and be available at all hours of the day, through the end of the year.
Biden administration officials have claimed over the past several months that the increased funds will enable IRS staff to more easily assist individuals and businesses attempting to properly file their taxes. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration nevertheless revealed in a report that the agency’s budget for enforcement activities will increase 69% over the next decade while the budget for taxpayer services will increase 9%.
House Republicans successfully voted at the outset of the new Congress to nix the $80 billion allocation, although the repeal is unlikely to pass in the evenly divided Senate and would almost certainly be vetoed by President Joe Biden.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has vowed that the new resources will not be utilized to increase audit rates for households earning less than $400,000 per year “relative to historical levels.” She failed to clarify that “historical levels” of enforcement were far higher as recently as one decade ago: audit rates for Americans earning between $25,000 and $200,000 decreased 76% between 2010 and 2019, according to data from the Government Accountability Office.
The possibility of increased audits for middle-income households also comes as total tax refunds for households are slated to decrease from $222 billion last year to $199 billion this year. Parents are no longer able to receive the advance child tax credit, an advance on the child tax credits formerly enacted by the American Rescue Plan, while taxpayers who did not receive stimulus checks will no longer be able to claim a recovery rebate credit.
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The federal budget proposal released by the White House last month would likewise add another $43 billion windfall to the IRS. Members of the House Freedom Caucus, a bloc of conservative Republicans, initially threatened to consider voting on raising the debt ceiling contingent upon the repeal of the $80 billion allocation provided to the agency last year.