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Members of Congress are not exempt from IRS audits, nor did lawmakers recently pass a bill to grant themselves this immunity.
The claim appears to have originated from a satirical Twitter account.
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. This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
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."
PolitiFact searched Congress.gov 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.
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.
Instagram post, Aug. 21, 2022
Twitter post, Aug. 18, 2022
Twitter post, Aug. 17, 2022
News That Matters Twitter account, accessed Aug. 22, 2022
Internal Revenue Service, "IRS audits," Aug. 9, 2022
Email exchange, Alex Nguyen, spokesperson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Aug. 22, 2022
Email exchange, Bruce Friedland, spokesperson, Internal Revenue Service, Aug. 23, 2022
Congress.gov, Search for legislation related to IRS audit exemptions for members of Congress, Aug. 22, 2022
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, "IRS Audits Poorest Families at Five Times the Rate for Everyone Else," March 8, 2022
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