Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, is investigating an allegation of what a letter he sent the IRS calls “bizarre” tactics of one agent.
The incident “raises serious concerns of the IRS abusing the civil liberties of American taxpayers,” according to a news release on the website of the House Judiciary Committee.
The letter from Jordan to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said the committee received “allegations that an Internal Revenue Service agent provided a false name to an Ohio taxpayer as part of a deception to gain entry into the taxpayer’s home to confront her about delinquent tax filings.”
“The details of this field visit are bizarre,” the letter said of the incident that took place on April 25 in Marion, Ohio, in which an agent who used the name of Bill Haus “informed the taxpayer he was at her home to discuss issues concerning an estate for which the taxpayer was the fiduciary.”
“After Agent ‘Haus’ shared details about the estate only the IRS would know, the taxpayer let him in. Agent ‘Haus’ told the taxpayer that she did not properly complete the filings for the estate and that she owed the IRS ‘a substantial amount,’” the letter said, noting she was not given advance notice of the visit.
During the conversation, the agent revealed “the true purpose of his visit was not due to any issue with the decedent’s estate, but rather because the decedent allegedly had several delinquent tax return filings.”
At that point, the homeowner called her attorney who told the agent to leave.
“Agent ‘Haus’ responded aggressively, insisting: ‘I am an IRS agent, I can be at and go into anyone’s house at any time I want to be,’” the letter said.
The letter said that before he left, he threatened that if the sum demanded was not paid, “he would freeze all her assets and put a lien on her house.”
After police were notified, they learned that the man was an IRS agent, but that he used a phony name. Police called the agent, believing he was scamming the woman, and told him not to visit her again, In response, the agent filed a complaint against the police.
After receiving contradictory information from the IRS over whether anything was owed, the woman was finally told nothing was owed and on May 30 her case was closed.
”This behavior from an IRS agent to an American taxpayer — providing an alias, using deception to secure entry into the taxpayer’s home, and then filing an Inspector General complaint against a police officer examining that matter — is highly concerning,” the letter said.
Jordan demanded all documents and communication referring to the visit and the complaint filed against the police.
This was not Jordan’s first allegation the IRS might not be following proper procedures.
In May, he called out the agency for investigating the tax return of journalist Matt Taibbi shortly after Taibbi produced a “Twitter Spaces” piece about government efforts to censor comments posted to Twitter, according to the New York Post.
“The IRS’s production shows that the IRS opened its examination of Mr. Taibbi’s 2018
tax return on December 24, 2022. Not only was this date Christmas Eve and a Saturday, but it also happened to be three weeks after he published the first Twitter Files detailing government abuses and the same day that Mr. Taibbi published the ninth segment of the Twitter Files, detailing how federal government agencies ‘from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA’ coordinated to censor and coerce speech on various social media platforms.”
“The IRS asserted to the Committee that it sent a letter to Mr. Taibbi on October 24, 2019 — nine days after Mr. Taibbi filed his 2018 tax return — asking Mr. Taibbi to verify his return because it met identity theft criteria and could not be processed until he confirmed. The IRS alleged that it sent a second letter to Mr. Taibbi on March 23, 2020,” Jordan wrote.
“However, according to Mr. Taibbi, neither he nor his accountant received either of these letters or any other notification that there was an issue with his 2018 tax return — that is, until the IRS conducted a field visit at Mr. Taibbi’s home three years later. The IRS also failed to produce these purported letters to the Committee,” Jordan wrote.