A tweet about the IRS recently went viral claiming Congress voted to make its members exempt from tax audits.
“In order to safeguard democracy, Congress has voted to exempt itself and its members from upcoming IRS audits,” the tweet from @ThatmattersNews said. As of Aug. 22, it had more than 18,000 likes and nearly 11,000 retweets.
VERIFY viewer Ron emailed us to ask if it was true.
Has Congress voted to make its members exempt from IRS audits?
No, Congress has not voted to make its members exempt from IRS audits. The tweet was satire.
WHAT WE FOUND
The viral tweet came from an account called News That Matters that is known for posting satirical content. After the post about congressional audits went viral, a different tweet was pinned to the top of the profile acknowledging the account is satire (satirical examples from the account here, here and here).
“REPORT A new study shows that a shocking number of American adults have trouble spelling the word ‘satire,’ let alone recognizing it,” the tweet said.
In a search of recent legislation, VERIFY could find no evidence to suggest Congress has passed a bill or is slated to vote on a bill that would make its members exempt from IRS audits.
An IRS spokesperson confirmed to VERIFY that the viral tweet is untrue, and “there is no such special exemption. All tax filers are treated equally under the tax law.”
Audits are determined ultimately on what is – or isn’t – included on the tax return. The IRS uses a number of processes to determine when to conduct an audit, including what information is on a person’s tax forms.
“The IRS has strong safeguards in place to ensure that audits are conducted only based on what is on the tax return – and not other factors,” the IRS spokesperson told VERIFY.
Any person or company that files a tax return is eligible to be audited by the IRS. So, we can VERIFY that members of Congress aren’t exempt from tax audits.