You may have seen ads on TV and social media sites claiming the Internal Revenue Service is hiring tens of thousands of new workers to dramatically expand the number of audits being conducted in New Jersey and beyond.

According to Special Agent Tammy Tomlins, the head of the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit in New Jersey, this is completely false information.

“IRS Criminal Investigation is not hiring 87,000 armed special agents. IRS Criminal Investigations is not involved in civil tax matters,” she said.

Fewer special agents

She said there had been a plan to hire 360 new CI Special Agents this year to go after people who willfully commit tax fraud. But the CI also loses 150 to 175 agents every year to retirement and attrition. The workforce at the IRS unit is 25% smaller than in 2010.

She said New Jersey residents should know IRS Criminal Investigations is a small but dedicated unit with a mission to serve people who follow the law.

“Last year CI’s efforts resulted in the identification of over $10 billion in tax fraud and other financial crimes,” she said.

Tax forms, close up
FabrikaCr GettyImages

Why they carry guns

Tomlins noted there has also been some recent criticism concerning IRS Criminal Investigation agents being armed, but part of their job is to carry out search warrants and make arrests.

“Only special agents who are classified as criminal investigators by the federal government are authorized to carry guns and conduct criminal investigations,” she said.

“IRS CI special agents are classified as GS1811s like all other federal special agents. We’re no different than other federal organization classification of special agents.”

Tomlins said the average IRS auditor does not carry a weapon and does not become involved in investigations that are considered criminal.

As far as who is spreading the misinformation about so many new investigators being hired, she said: “I think the rumors have originated from varying sources and I wouldn’t want to point the finger at any one specific source.”

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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