Tax chief: Threats toward IRS have not increased in wake of health reform

"There's not been any sort of scaled-up, actual, specific threats against IRS employees," Shulman told an audience at the National Press Club on Monday. "I think a lot of the reporting is just more general around some of the anti-government rhetoric that you hear out there." 

Under healthcare reform, the IRS is charged with ensuring that taxpayers either have adequate health insurance or pay a fine. The healthcare mandate goes into effect in 2013, and fines can run as high as $750 each year.

A recent report from the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration stated threats against IRS workers have increased steadily over the last four years.  

Violence toward the IRS also made headlines last February after Joseph Stack crashed his plane into an IRS building in Texas, killing himself and Vernon Hunter, a 28-year veteran at the IRS. Over a dozen others were injured in the crash as well. 

Shulman used the tragic death of Hunter to paint a human face on the IRS. 

"The people at the IRS serve this country every day," he said. "They are not a faceless bureaucracy. But they are the face of public service, the face of dedication and professionalism, the face of the Internal Revenue Service."