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Yes, the Internal Revenue Service did buy nearly $700K in ammunition in early 2022

VERIFY viewer Ian asked if the IRS bought $700,000 in ammunition earlier this year. It’s true. It’s for armed agents who can carry weapons and ammunition.

On July 1, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced the “Disarm the IRS Act,” which would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from acquiring ammunition.

Gaetz had previously claimed the IRS purchases hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ammunition. In an interview published in June by Breitbart, a conservative news website, reported that Gaetz said the IRS spent approximately $700,000 “between March and June 1” purchasing ammunition. 

The Disarm the IRS Act was co-sponsored by South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03), who also tweeted that the IRS has “stockpiled” ammunition.

VERIFY viewer Ian sent us a link to another article and asked us to confirm if the IRS is buying guns and ammunition. 

THE QUESTION

Did the IRS buy approximately $700,000 in ammunition between March and June 1?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, between March 1 and June 1, 2022, the IRS ordered $696,000 in ammunition, a spokesperson confirmed to VERIFY. 

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WHAT WE FOUND

Between March 1 and June 1, 2022, the criminal division of the IRS ordered $696,000 in ammunition, the IRS told VERIFY in an email.

The order was for the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) division, which is a federal law enforcement agency that conducts criminal investigations including tax violations, money laundering, cyber crimes, and organized crime involving drugs and gangs. There are more than 2,000 sworn special agents in the division. 

“Many of these cases are typically worked in conjunction with other state and federal law enforcement agencies. IRS-CI special agents have been carrying firearms throughout the more than 100-year history of the agency, and have found themselves dealing with some of the most dangerous criminals,” an IRS spokesperson told VERIFY.

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In 2018, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on what the IRS spent on firearms and ammunition from 2010 through 2017. The data starts on page 75 of the report.

From 2010 through 2017, the IRS has spent an average of $675,000 on ammunition a year, the report shows. During that time, the IRS spent the most in 2011, with $1,100,000 in spending. 

Credit: Government Accountability Office
Internal Revenue Service ammunition data from a Government Accountability Office report released in 2018.

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In comparison, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which is responsible for conducting investigations of misconduct or fraud within the IRS, spent an average of $250,625 a year on ammunition from 2010 through 2017.

The U.S. Marshals Service spent an average of nearly $3.2 million annually on ammunition during that same time period. 

The GAO told VERIFY there is no more recent data available on the IRS annual spending.

So, we can confirm the IRS did buy nearly $700,000 in ammunition between March 1 and June 1, but it is to arm their criminal division and is not a new trend.

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