The Friday, August 19, Chronicle headline “Hiring plans draw scrutiny to IRS” on the front page is not a “news” article, it is propaganda. The hyperbolic lead in “they are coming to get us” is clearly a ploy of a politician, Financial Chief Jim Patronis, to use fear to get re-elected. This is fear mongering vying for votes, as he spouts off that he is going to ask the state legislature to pass laws to nullify federal regulations.
I feel we want the IRS to investigate tax fraud, process returns efficiently and be available to answer our questions. The IRS has historically been understaffed and using antiquated 1980s equipment. This funding, as I understand it, is to correct these inadequacies.
The funding will also be used over 10 years to add IRS auditors who are directed to investigate tax fraud among the wealthy; plus retain about 50,000 new hires for an anticipated 50,000 retiring IRS agents over this same period.
The new auditors are not after the average Joe, they are dedicated to collecting taxes from large corporations and high income tax dodgers. They do not use guns as was reported by other Florida leaders.
Financial Chief Jim Patronis uses the ugly specter of the 2013 IRS scrutiny of conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status. He used that investigation to support his fear mongering warning, “they are coming after us.”
The 2013 narrative is partially true, what he failed to mention is the Trump Republican Congress investigated the complaint; it was reported in 2017 that the IRS also singled out about 150 organizations whose names were liberal. The consequence was the IRS apologized for the excess scrutiny of any organization based on their names and the issue was resolved.
Patronis, along with other leaders in Florida like Rick Scott, know that hyperbolic allegations, such as this unsubstantiated one, are likely to get headlines, no matter its veracity.
The Chronicle, for its part in this unethical distribution of misinformation, would better serve their readers if they slow down and go deeper into exploring the facts before headlining disinformation designed to undermine faith in our democratic institutions.