In an interim staff report published on Friday, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government outlined civil liberties abuses performed by the Internal Revenue Service and showed that the IRS ceased its unannounced visit policy after Congressional oversight.
“History has shown how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), with its vast power to reach into the lives of Americans, has the tremendous potential to violate the civil liberties of American citizens. As Justice John Marshall noted over two-hundred years ago, the ‘power to tax involves the power to destroy.’ The Committee’s and Select Subcommittee’s oversight demonstrates that Justice Marshall’s warning is as potent now as it was then,” the report states.
The report sheds light on several civil liberties abuses that have occurred within the first nine months of the 118th Congress, including the IRS conducting an unannounced field visit to the home of journalist Matt Taibbi the same day he was testifying before Congress on government abuses, an IRS giving a fake name and used “deception to gain entry into the house of an Ohio taxpayer and then threatened her when asked to leave,” and the IRS repealing it’s policy on unannounced field visits after the committee and subcommittee’s oversight uncovered abuses by the IRS.
“The Committee’s and Select Subcommittee’s oversight revealed, and led to the swift end of, the IRS’s weaponization of unannounced field visits to harass, intimidate, and target taxpayers.”
“Taxpayers can now rest assured the IRS will not come knocking without providing prior notice—something that should have been the IRS’s practice all along. No American should fear again an unannounced visit from the powerful tax collector. No American should fall victim to deception from their own government to threaten and pressure them into submission. The details that the Committee and Select Subcommittee gathered about IRS abuses are shocking examples of the federal government’s weaponization,” the report concludes.
In the case of Taibbi, the report stated that the IRS visited the home of the journalist the same time he appeared before Congress, with the IRS leaving a note for Taibbi to call them.
The IRS told Taibbi that they had rejected his 2018 and 2021 tax filings, but the report stated that the IRS had made no attempt to contact him by another means before showing up at his doorstep.
They showed up to his house despite Taibbi not owing any money, and in fact, was owed a return.
The report notes that Taibbi’s case was opened by the IRS in December of 2022, just three weeks after he began publishing the Twitter Files series, detailing how government agencies were censoring speech on social media.
The report highlights another case, in which an IRS agent visited the Ohio home of a taxpayer on April 25 of 2023, and introduced himself as “Bill Haus.”
This agent told the woman that she had not completed filings for an estate that she was the fiduciary, and that she owed the IRS “a substantial amount.”
The woman said she had not received any notice from the IRS before the visit of an outstanding balance.
The agent eventually said the purpose of the visit was because the “decedent allegedly had several delinquent tax return filings,” the report states, and gave the woman several documents to complete, to which she called her accountant, who did not answer, and then her attorney, who told the agent to leave.
“Agent ‘Haus' responded aggressively, insisting, ‘I am an IRS agent, I can be at and go into anyone’s house at any time I want to be.' At the end of his unannounced visit, Agent “Haus” told the taxpayer he would mail her paperwork for her to execute and threatened that she would have exactly one week to satisfy the remaining balance or he would freeze all her assets and put a lien on her house.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.