IRS conducting 'comprehensive review of existing safety and security measures' amid threats to employees

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — The Internal Revenue Service said it is conducting a comprehensive review of its security systems amid recent threats against IRS employees.

Some of the rhetoric comes after many Republican lawmakers and media figures claimed, without evidence, that the $78 billion being sent to the IRS over 10 years as part of the Inflation Reduction Act is so more agents can be hired to audit the middle class.

“This includes conducting risk assessments based on data-driven decisions given the current environment and monitoring perimeter security, designations of restricted areas, exterior lighting, security around entrances to our facilities and other various protections,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig wrote to employees and obtained by ABC News.

“We also monitor threat intelligence and have increased engagement with TIGTA, Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement officials so we’re ready to implement additional countermeasures and notifications to employees if circumstances warrant,” Rettig wrote.

The commissioner said it is personal.

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“I’ll continue to make every effort to dispel any lingering misperceptions about our work. And I will continue to advocate for your safety in every venue where I have an audience,” he said. “You go above and beyond every single day, and I am honored to work with each of you.”

There has been much debate about an increase in IRS agents.

The Internal Revenue Service does not plan to use the nearly $80 billion it’s set to receive in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to hire 87,000 new agents in order to target middle class Americans, a Treasury Department official told ABC News last week and documents verify, rejecting a claim widely circulated by Republican lawmakers and right-wing media personalities.

In a letter to Rettig, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the agency is planning on hiring auditors who can enforce the tax laws against high-income Americans and corporations, not the middle class, along with employees to provide customer service to taxpayers. The majority of hires will fill the positions of about 50,000 IRS employees on the verge of retirement, which will net about 20,000 – 30,000 workers, not 87,000.

“New staff will be hired to improve taxpayer services and experienced auditors who can take on corporate and high-end tax evaders, without increasing audit rates relative to historical norms for people earning under $400,000 each year,” Treasury Department spokesperson Julia Krieger said in a statement last week.

The billions heading toward the IRS are part of the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this month.

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