On Monday, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it is making significant changes to its controversial policy of making unannounced visits to taxpayers' homes:
The Internal Revenue Service announced Monday that it will "end most" unannounced visits by agency revenue officers to taxpayers' homes as part of an effort to address "public confusion and enhance overall safety measures for taxpayers and employees."
The IRS says the change "reverses a decades-long practice by IRS revenue officers, the unarmed agency employees whose duties include visiting households and businesses to help taxpayers resolve their account balances by collecting unpaid taxes and unfiled tax returns."
"Effective immediately, unannounced visits will end except in a few unique circumstances and will be replaced with mailed letters to schedule meetings," the IRS said in a statement.
"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," IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. "Changing this long-standing procedure will increase confidence in our tax administration work and improve overall safety for taxpayers and IRS employees."
It shouldn't be lost on anyone that this policy change follows exposure of the practice by members of the House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Earlier this year, journalist Matt Taibbi received an unannounced visit from the IRS the very day he testified before the Weaponization Subcommittee about alleged government-directed censorship on social media platforms:
Mr. Taibbi has told Mr. Jordan’s committee that an IRS agent showed up at his personal residence in New Jersey on March 9. That happens to be the same day Mr. Taibbi testified before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about what he learned about Twitter. The taxman left a note instructing Mr. Taibbi to call the IRS four days later. Mr. Taibbi was told in a call with the agent that both his 2018 and 2021 tax returns had been rejected owing to concerns over identity theft.
Mr. Taibbi has provided the committee with documentation showing his 2018 return had been electronically accepted, and he says the IRS never notified him or his accountants of a problem after he filed that 2018 return more than four-and-a-half years ago.
He says the IRS initially rejected his 2021 return, which he later refiled, and it was rejected again—even though Mr. Taibbi says his accountants refiled it with an IRS-provided pin number. Mr. Taibbi notes that in neither case was the issue “monetary,” and that the IRS owes him a “considerable” sum. . .
The curious timing of this visit, on the heels of the FTC demand that Twitter turn over names of journalists, raises questions about potential intimidation[.]
In a statement to National Review, Taibbi celebrated the policy change and emphasized that there are legitimate concerns that this policy has been weaponized against other Americans:
“If the resulting hubbub had any part in today’s news, I’m glad and grateful to Chairman Jordan and his staff,” Taibbi told National Review on Monday afternoon.
Taibbi added that following his experience with the IRS, several people came forward and shared “far worse tales.”
“[M]y impression is there may be a broader pattern of using the IRS to investigate a range of politically irritating people, one that probably still needs looking into,” Taibbi added. “But this is a good step.”
House Republicans also celebrated the win on Twitter.
After @JudiciaryGOP brought transparency to the IRS’s harassment of @mtaibbi, the agency is FINALLY backing down on unannounced visits to taxpayers’ homes.— Congressman Ben Cline (@RepBenCline) July 24, 2023
This is a WIN for the American people & our fight to stop the weaponization of government.
A win for Americans against government intimidation - the investigative work of @Weaponization exposed this IRS practice.— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) July 24, 2023
We’ll continue to expose crooked gov’t behavior wherever it appears. https://t.co/JAhOoC4mf4
Republicans winning back the House continues to have a positive impact on the American people. House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan and Committee Republicans should be applauded for their work fighting against corrupt government practices.