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A story about weapons seized before they could reach the IRS comes from Real Raw News, a website that has previously fabricated stories, many involving the military.
The IRS plans to hire more agents if the Inflation Reduction Act becomes law, but only the agents in its criminal division are armed.
The agency regularly, legally purchases guns and ammunition for its criminal division.
Much of the reaction shared on social media about a Democratic bill that would provide billions of dollars in new funding for the IRS has focused on fears that more Americans will face tax audits as a result.
But one outlandish claim suggested those new IRS agents might soon be coming to your door armed to the teeth to collect your taxes, if not for a dramatic early morning intervention by "Delta Force" soldiers.
An Aug. 8 TikTok video’s headline read, "Delta Force seizes IRS weapons shipment." The video shows screenshots of an article with that same headline. But the article is from Real Raw News, a website that has a long track record of creating fake news stories.
TikTok identified this video as part of its efforts to counter inauthentic, misleading or false content. (Read more about PolitiFact's partnership with TikTok.)
The article describes 16 soldiers and four SUVs stopping a tractor-trailer from entering the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland soon after Vice President "Kabula Harris" cast the tie-breaking vote on the Inflation Reduction Act on Aug. 7. That bill, the article said, allows the IRS "to hire and arm 87,000 new agents."
The number is misleading. It comes from a year-old IRS document about new hires numbering 86,852 full-time positions, but a portion of that would be used to replace retiring employees, and the hiring covered three areas — taxpayer service, enforcement and IT.
The article goes on with an alarming — and wholly unsubstantiated — story: The truck’s driver and passenger were gagged and zip-tied and taken away in one of the SUVs, the article claimed, and inside the trailer were "23,500 crated Sig Sauer P229s and 160,000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, ostensibly intended for the IRS’s enhanced police force."
There is no evidence any of this happened and this scenario hasn’t been featured in any legitimate news coverage. After initial publication of this article, an IRS spokesperson confirmed to PolitiFact that this did not happen. This scenario hasn’t been featured in any legitimate news coverage.
The IRS has a criminal investigation division for which it buys weapons and ammunition. Agents who are armed investigate crimes such as money laundering and organized crime and sometimes interact with dangerous criminals, a spokesperson told Verify fact-checkers. But a regular American facing an audit, many of which are done via mail, shouldn’t worry about doing so at gunpoint.
Real Raw News’ stories bear the pseudonymous byline of "Michael Baxter." We found the person behind the site had previously run other websites and YouTube channels that promoted conspiracy theories.
Real Raw News’ "about us" page contains a disclaimer that information on the site "is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire."
A TikTok video shared an article claiming that the military seized a truckload of weapons headed to the IRS.
The tax agency does purchase weapons and ammunition for its criminal division, so there would be no reason to try to keep that quiet, as the article suggests, or to confiscate the weapons.
The article was published on a website with a documented history of fabricating stories, often involving the military. We rate this Pants on Fire!
PolitiFact staff writer Jon Greenberg contributed to this report.
UPDATE, Aug. 12, 2022: This story has been updated to reflect that, after initial publication, a spokesperson for the IRS confirmed to PolitiFact that the events detailed in this claim did not happen. The rating is unchanged.
TikTok video, Aug. 8, 2022
Real Raw News, "Delta Force Seizes IRS Weapons Shipment," Aug. 8, 2022
Real Raw News, "About us," accessed Aug. 10, 2022
PolitiFact, "Hangings, guillotines and Gitmo: Going behind Real Raw News’ sensational (and fabricated) headlines," Sept. 24, 2021
Verify, "Yes, the Internal Revenue Service did buy nearly $700K in ammunition in early 2022," Aug. 5, 2022
IRS, "Criminal Investigation (CI) At-a-Glance," accessed Aug. 9, 2022
IRS, "IRS CI: Annual report 2021," accessed Aug. 9, 2022
IRS, "IRS audits," accessed Aug. 10, 2022
U.S. Department of the Treasury, "The American Families Plan Tax Compliance Agenda," May 2021
Government Executive, "Some Specifics Emerge on How the Senate-Backed Tax-and-Climate Bill Would Impact Agency Staffing Levels," Aug. 8, 202
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