U.S. tax committees to question IRS chief over audits of ex-FBI officials

U.S. tax committees to question IRS chief over audits of ex-FBI officials

Published July 12, 2022
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Signage is seen at the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington, D.C. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

WASHINGTON, July 11 (Reuters) – U.S. tax commissioner Charles Rettig will face questions from legislators over how two former FBI officials vilified by former President Donald Trump were targeted for intensive tax audits, lawmakers and the Internal Revenue Service said on Monday.

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a closed-door hearing on July 26 into the circumstances of tax audits for former FBI director James Comey and FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, said Senator Ron Wyden, the panel’s chairman, in an emailed statement.

Comey and McCabe, both fired by the Trump administration, were frequent targets of the former president’s criticism over their roles in the FBI’s investigation into his 2016 election campaign’s alleged connections with Russia.

The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to hold a similar hearing, also behind closed doors because the IRS is prohibited from publicly discussing details of individual tax returns.

The IRS chief last week asked the U.S. Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration to investigate how both men were selected for National Research Program audits, which some tax professionals call “audits from Hell” because of their intensive nature.

The IRS maintains that taxpayers are selected at random for such audits to collect information about tax compliance. read more

Asked about the congressional hearing plans, IRS spokesperson Jodie Reynolds said: “Commissioner Rettig always welcomes a chance to meet with members on tax issues and routinely flags areas of potential concern for key leaders of congressional oversight committees.”

Rettig, a former Beverly Hills, California tax lawyer, was appointed by Trump in 2018 to lead the U.S. tax agency and was retained by President Joe Biden.

Wyden said that reports about Comey’s selection for an audit in 2019 and McCabe’s selection in 2021 have “raised serious concerns about the possibility that former President Trump encouraged the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies.”

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