By Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal | October 27, 2023
An IRS agent showed up at the door of a Marion County, Ohio, woman and lied about his reason for being there.
Once inside, the Internal Revnue Service agent, purporting to be named Bill Haus, began to harass and intimidate the taxpayer, according to a congressional report released Friday.
The woman called a lawyer, who told the IRS agent to leave the home since the taxpayer had gotten no prior notice of unpaid taxes.
“I am an IRS agent. I can be at and go into anyone’s house at any time I want to be,” responded the agent, who was using a phony name, according to the report from the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
Under pressure from Congress, the IRS discontinued its policy of unannounced home visits in July.
The Ohio woman’s experience is one of several examples of IRS abuse included in the House panel’s report.
“After the taxpayer called the police, the revenue officer even filed a complaint against the police department,” the report says. “The IRS later confirmed that the taxpayer owed nothing and acknowledged the situation ‘never should have gotten this far.’”
Under Democrat control, Congress voted in August 2022 to boost IRS funding by $80 billion over 10 years. The funding increase prompted congressional Republicans to demand more oversight of the agency.
“This shocking abuse of power is a startling indication that the IRS believes it may do what it wants, when it wants,” the report says.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also is chairman of the weaponization subcommittee.
The IRS initiated a case against Taibbi on Christmas Eve, three weeks after the reporter published the first installment of the “Twitter Files.”
The “Twitter Files” was a series of reports based on new owner Elon Musk’s release of information to Taibbi and several other journalists about the social media site’s practices, including its relationship with the federal government. (Musk later changed Twitter’s name to X.)
“In the four-and-one-half years between when the IRS alleges it last tried to contact Mr. Taibbi and the day it conducted an unannounced field visit, neither he nor his accountant ever received notice from the IRS about an issue with his tax return,” the report says.
“The IRS conducted its field visit even though Mr. Taibbi did not owe the IRS anything; rather, the IRS owed Mr. Taibbi a substantial refund,” the report continues. “The unannounced field visit alarmed Mr. Taibbi, who viewed it as an attempt to chill his reporting about government abuses.”
The IRS did not respond Friday to The Daily Signal’s inquiry for this report.
IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel issued a public statement July 24 about the policy change regarding home visits.
“We are taking a fresh look at how the IRS operates to better serve taxpayers and the nation, and making this change is a common-sense step,” Werfel said in the statement. “Changing this long-standing procedure will increase confidence in our tax administration work and improve overall safety for taxpayers and IRS employees.”
Agents also weren’t safe during the home visits, Werfel added.
“These visits created extra anxiety for taxpayers already wary of potential scam artists,” he said. “At the same time, the uncertainty around what IRS employees faced when visiting these homes created stress for them as well. This is the right thing to do and the right time to end it.”
Fred Lucas is chief news correspondent and manager of the Investigative Reporting Project for The Daily Signal. Lucas is also the author of "The Myth of Voter Suppression: The Left's Assault on Clean Elections." Send an email to Fred.
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