Photos and video claiming to show an Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division training program have gone viral, with some claiming the images were taken recently.
One tweet posted Aug. 17 said the video showed a “new IRS training.” Another tweet posted that same day with the same video had more than 1 million views. This tweet has more than 46,000 views and says it’s an armed IRS training video, and this one says it’s “newly surfaced IRS training video.”
Recently, there have been a number of false claims circulating about the IRS in connection with funding it will receive from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. These purported training images started getting traction on social media after the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was signed into law.
Do the viral IRS video and photos show IRS agent training?
No, the viral IRS video and photos do not show IRS agent training. They show a one-day program for college students that simulates a criminal IRS investigation recorded in 2017 at Stockton University.
WHAT WE FOUND
The video and images were taken in October 2017 as part of an IRS-sponsored college program, known as the Adrian Project, hosted for accounting students at Stockton University in New Jersey. The IRS conducts Adrian Project sessions for accounting students at universities across the country.
According to a press release from Stockton University, 24 accounting students participated in a day-long simulation of a mock criminal investigation that might be conducted by the IRS’s Criminal Investigation division.
The IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) division is a federal law enforcement agency that conducts criminal investigations on things like tax violations, money laundering, cyber crimes, and organized crime involving drugs and gangs. There are more than 2,000 sworn special agents in the division.
A spokesperson for the IRS told VERIFY the agents that work under the Criminal Investigation division are required to carry weapons as part of their everyday duties.
The 2017 event at Stockton University was created to give students exposure to a different type of career in accounting and to give the students “a glimpse of a career path they might not have thought of,” the release said.
In the 2017 simulation, the day ended when, armed with bright red or blue “handguns” and wearing protective vests, the students rushed to a room to make “arrests,” the release said.
The same people holding the same fake weapons seen in the viral video and images that were recently shared can also be seen in a YouTube video posted by Stockton University in October 2017.
Stockton University is based in Galloway, New Jersey. The IRS doesn’t conduct their training in New Jersey. The National Criminal Investigation Training Academy (NCITA), where IRS agents train, is at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.