Fact Check: The IRS Is NOT A Private Business

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: The IRS Is NOT A Private Business Gov't Agency

Is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a private business? No, that's not true: It's a government agency. The IRS, which is tasked with determining, assessing and collecting internal revenue, is a bureau of the Treasury Department. The claim provides no proof of incorporation or business registry that would document the IRS existence as a private company.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on October 20, 2021. The post opens:

The IRS is a PRIVATE BUSINESS NOT a Government. There is NO LAW that says u MUST pay taxes. NONE! They can NEVER FORCE u to PAY taxes.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Oct 22 17:03:57 2021 UTC)

This fact check does not encompass the entire post, which goes on to make a number of unsubstantiated claims about Social Security numbers, bitcoin and more. This article is limited to checking the claim that the IRS is a private business.

That's not true.

The IRS is a government agency. Specifically, it's the largest bureau within the Treasury Department. The IRS addresses the allegation on its website, stating:

Constitutional and statutory authority establishes that the IRS is an agency of the United States. Indeed, the Supreme Court has stated, '[T]he Internal Revenue Service is organized to carry out the broad responsibilities of the Secretary of the Treasury under § 7801(a) of the 1954 Code for the administration and enforcement of the internal revenue laws.' Donaldson v. United States, 400 U.S. 517, 534 (1971).

The agency continues:

Pursuant to section 7801, the Secretary of the Treasury has full authority to administer and enforce the internal revenue laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce such laws. Based upon this legislative grant, the IRS was created.

Lead Stories has previously debunked a similar post, which claimed that IRS income taxes are voluntary. They're not. The duties to file a tax return and pay federal income taxes owed are not voluntary. The requirements are enshrined in the Internal Revenue Code as well as relevant case law.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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