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By Reuters Fact Check
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Social media users are sharing images from The Adrian Project, a simulation by the U.S. IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Criminal Investigation (CI) that allows students to get a glimpse into the career of a special agent, and claiming that it shows a recruiting or training program in relation to already debunked claims that the IRS is hiring 87,000 armed agents.
The IRS CI is a law enforcement agency within the IRS.
Examples can be seen (here) and (here).
The text in one post reads: “These are not auditions for the next Police Academy sequel. This is an actual IRS recruiting program.”
Other users shared a clip claiming to show new IRS forces being trained (here).
Comments on the posts read: “Why does the IRS need 87000 armed agents? Something wrong with this picture. I hope a future administration changes this situation”, “If we let them continue training like this, those 87k irs agents won’t be an issue” and “I wonder what sort of background checks, if any, were done (will be done) on those 87K.”
President Joe Biden on Aug. 16, 2022 signed into law a $430 billion bill called Inflation Reduction Act that is seen as the biggest climate package in U.S. history, designed to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions as well as lower prescription drug prices and high inflation (here).
Reuters has previously debunked claims about the Inflation Reduction Act that it would lead to hiring 87,000 IRS agents to target the middle class and that those agents would be armed (here), (here).
A reverse Google Images search revealed that these photographs are available on the website of Stockton University (here) in an article titled “Accounting Students Get Hands-On Lesson in IRS Criminal Investigations” published Oct. 30, 2017.
The clip was also uploaded to YouTube by the university in October 2017 (bit.ly/3Pz6R0f).
More photos of the simulation can be seen (here).
“Accountants don’t typically carry guns,” the article reads. “But, as 24 accounting students at Stockton University learned, being a special agent for IRS Criminal Investigations means you might uncover a money laundering operation for terrorists, resulting in an armed raid.”
The article says that the IRS Criminal Investigation Newark Field Office hosted the Adrian Project at the university for a “day-long simulation of a mock criminal investigation” where students “reviewed bank statements, invoices and tax returns, but also surveilled and interrogated witnesses, and requested arrest and search warrants.”
Per the IRS’s website, the Adrian Project “provides students a glimpse into the career life of an IRS special agent and what a criminal investigation entails.” (here)
“IRS Special Agent Robert Glantz said the day gives students a glimpse of a career path they might not have thought of,” the university article reads. “Several Stockton graduates who are working in the field participated in the simulation.”
Justin T. Cole, director of the office of communication at IRS Criminal Investigation, confirmed to Reuters via email that the images show an IRS CI initiative that takes place across the U.S.
“It’s called an Adrian Project – after Adrian College – the first college we did this program at in Detroit 20 years ago,” Cole said. “It’s part of our CI Academy where high school students, college students – any schools who request us to participate, allow CI instructors to put interested parties through an “Agent for a Day” experience.”
For the past 20 years, IRS CI has been conducting this event 30-40 times a year. “It gets tremendously high reviews from the schools and students who invite us and has been covered by local media a few times a year,” Cole said. “It closely mirrors the FBI Academy.”
The images show students, not IRS CI special agents, training.
Regardless of the photographs, armed CI agents will not make up the entirety of the newly budgeted IRS workers, as explained in detail (here).
A Treasury official told Reuters that most of the new hires would go toward filling positions for 50,000 IRS employees who are on the verge of retirement and that the majority of net new hires would serve in customer service roles like upgrading IT systems or answering calls (here).
“There are about 3,000 employees in CI, 2,100 of which are special agents and the remaining professional staff,” Cole said. “Only special agents carry firearms.” For context, there were 81,600 total IRS employees in fiscal year 2021 (here).
Miscaptioned. The photographs are from October 2017 and show a day-in-the-life career event hosted by IRS Criminal Investigation at a university. The images are unrelated to false claims that IRS is hiring 87,000 armed agents with the Inflation Reduction Act.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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