August 24, 2022

Following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which sets aside about $46 billion for increased Internal Revenue Service enforcement, some social media posts claim members of Congress gave themselves immunity from tax inspections.

“Congress just voted to exempt themselves from IRS auditing of their personal finances,” claimed an Aug. 18 tweet. “This is what blunt force takeover looks like. Of course this is meant to hide bribes, theft, and embezzlement. All the checks & balances are dead people.”

A few days later, an image of this tweet was shared on Instagram.

The claim that Congress is exempt from IRS audits appears to have originated from a satirical Twitter account called News That Matters. On Aug. 17, the account tweeted, “BREAKING In order to safeguard democracy, Congress has voted to exempt itself and its members from upcoming IRS audits.”

On News That Matters’ Twitter page, a pinned tweet reads, “REPORT A new study shows that a shocking number of American adults have trouble spelling the word ‘satire,’ let alone recognizing it.”

PolitiFact searched and found no legislation that grants exemptions from IRS audits to members of Congress.

Alex Nguyen, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told PolitiFact the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law Aug. 16, contains no language that grants such an exemption.

The IRS also confirmed to PolitiFact that this claim is untrue. “There is no such special exemption. All tax filers are treated equally under the tax law,” said IRS spokesperson Bruce Friedland.

The IRS said it reviews tax returns to ensure information is reported correctly and in accordance with tax laws and uses these reviews to determine which returns to audit.

“Audits are determined ultimately on what is — or isn’t — included on the tax return,” Friedland said. “The IRS has strong safeguards in place to ensure that audits are conducted only based on what is on the tax return — and not other factors.”

The IRS website said some audits are conducted by “random selection and computer screening,” which uses a statistical formula to select and compare tax returns to the “norms” of similar returns.

Another auditing method, “related examinations,” is done when tax returns involve issues or transactions with other taxpayers who have been selected for an audit.

In 2021, the IRS conducted more than 659,003 audits of individuals’ and organizations’ financial information.

Our ruling

Recent social media posts claimed, “Congress just voted to exempt themselves from IRS auditing of their personal finances.”

This claim appears to have originated from a satirical Twitter account. Members of Congress are not exempt from IRS audits, and lawmakers passed no recent legislation to give themselves this immunity.

We rate this claim False.

This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for these fact checks here and more of their fact checks here.

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Sara Swann is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. For two and a half years, she covered voting rights, money in politics, gerrymandering and…
Sara Swann

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