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- The $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act signed into law Aug. 16 earmarks about $80 billion for the IRS to hire as many as 87,000 employees. But how it uses that money is not finalized.
- The funding comes as an estimated 50,000 IRS workers are expected to retire over the next five or six years.
- The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there were about 107,890 detectives and investigators in the U.S. in 2021.
The Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act provides the IRS money to hire thousands more people over the next decade. Does that influx of new employees mean the ranks of the IRS will eclipse the number of police detectives employed in the United States?
No. But an Instagram post from Aug. 17 suggests as much, showing a photo of a packed football stadium that the post says has a seating capacity of 87,000 — the same number of new employees the IRS should be able to hire between now and 2031.
"There are approximately 800,000 police officers in the entire country, of which about 10% are criminal detectives," words above the image read. "Biden is adding more IRS agents to investigate your taxes than we have detectives investigating every crime in the country."
This post was flagged as part of efforts by Facebook, which owns Instagram, to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Here are the actual numbers.
According to the most recently available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were at least 665,380 officers across municipal police departments and sheriff’s offices in 2021.
The agency counted 107,890 working detectives and criminal investigators nationally. These folks work in federal, state and local government; in colleges and universities; and in elementary and secondary schools.
The landmark $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Joe Biden on Aug. 16 earmarks about $80 billion for the IRS to hire as many as 87,000 employees. But how the agency will use that money is not finalized.
The 87,000 figure comes from a year-old Treasury Department assessment of how many full-time equivalent positions could be funded with the roughly $80 billion. Any additions will come as an expected 50,000 people are on track to retire in the next five to six years.
The Treasury Department said in its 2021 plan that not all the hiring would be for tax enforcement positions and would not happen all at once — it would happen gradually through 2031. Other priorities included "modernizing antiquated information technology, and investing in meaningful taxpayer service."
A National Treasury Employees Union spokesperson previously told PolitiFact that the net gain in employees after a decade would end up being "significantly less than 86,852" after expected departures.
An Instagram post claimed the number of expected new hires at the IRS would surpass the total number of working police detectives in the United States.
The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there were about 107,890 detectives and investigators in the U.S. in 2021. The number of IRS employees expected to be hired over the next 10 years under the Inflation Reduction Act could total 87,000, but those figures are not final and are projected to be smaller.
We rate this claim False.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers," accessed Aug. 18, 2022
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Detectives and Criminal Investigators", accessed Aug 18, 2022
Washington Post, "Hyperbolic GOP Claims About IRS Agents and Audits," published Aug. 11, 2022; accessed Aug. 18, 2022
PolitiFact, "Rick Scott overstates potential hiring surge at the IRS," published Aug. 17, 2022, accessed Aug. 18, 2022
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