New York Times report blasts Republicans for ‘unfounded conspiracy theories’ about increased IRS enforcement

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The New York Times was the latest media organization on Friday to defend the massive expansion of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by dismissing Republicans’ concerns as “unfounded conspiracy theories.”

Reporters Alan Rappeport and Tiffany Hsu documented what they considered the rise of conspiracy theories after Republicans warned that the Inflation Reduction Act would double the workforce of the IRS over the next decade by hiring approximately 87,000 new workers.

Rappeport and Hsu insisted that these efforts are primarily to help the “beleaguered agency” hire new employees to “upgrade outdated technology” and “improve its ability to respond to taxpayers.” They claimed Republicans have latched onto this news, “often distorting facts,” to scare low-income voters into fearing they will be targeted for political purposes.

“But Republicans, who have long accused the I.R.S. of unfairly targeting conservatives, have seized on the law to fan unfounded conspiracy theories about the threat that mom-and-pop shops and middle-class Americans will face from an emboldened tax collector,” they warned.

This photo taken April 13, 2014 shows the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington.
(AP Photo/J. David Ake)


The reporters admitted later that IRS enforcement is indeed planning to expand.

“The I.R.S. is beefing up its staff to keep pace with the growth in taxpayers and to replace departing employees. The Biden administration expects that about 50,000 I.R.S. employees will retire within the next decade and that the agency will hire 87,000 new employees, bringing the overall size of the agency to around 120,000. The number of enforcement agents is expected to double to about 13,000 from 6,500 over the next decade,” they wrote.

The article also recognized that the IRS admitted in 2013 to singling out terms such as “Tea Party” and “patriot” when deciding whether a group received a tax-exemption. However, they noted that the IRS targeted some progressive groups as well.

In addition, FOX Business reported the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that taxpayers making under $400,000 a year will have to be audited to account for around $20 billion in revenue to pay for the IRS expansion.

Biden's Inflation Reduction Act will double the IRS workforce in th enext ten years.

Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will double the IRS workforce in th enext ten years.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images  |  Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Despite this, Rappeport and Hsu repeated White House talking points that IRS concerns will only focus on wealthy citizens earning more than $400,000.

“The Biden administration has been trying to debunk disinformation and tamp down fears. It insists that the revamped I.R.S. will be focused on better customer service and that honest taxpayers will have less to fear because audits will be better targeted at those who are evading taxes,” they wrote. “In a memo this week to the I.R.S. commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen mapped out her top priorities for the agency and reiterated that it must focus on rich tax dodgers and cracking down on corporate tax evasion.”


The reporters also quoted John Koskinen, who served as I.R.S. commissioner under former Presidents Obama and Trump, insisting that the agency would not go after honest taxpayers.

“The idea that the I.R.S. is going to show up and audit all sorts of people for the fun of it are [sic] either ignoring reality or just don’t know how the I.R.S. operates,” Mr. Koskinen said. “Honest taxpayers, who are the vast majority, aren’t going to be bothered at all.”

Republicans have expressed concerns over expanding the IRS over the next decade.

Republicans have expressed concerns over expanding the IRS over the next decade.


The Washington Post’s chief fact-checker Glenn Kessler similarly claimed on Thursday that the GOP was weaponizing people’s fears of the IRS to intimidate voters. He was attacked on Twitter as a “shill” for the Biden administration for his comments.

Lindsay Kornick is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @lmkornick.