- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
IRS told employees to ignore potential fraud in program used by immigrants
IRS supervisors ignored employees who tried to warn agency higher-ups of fraud in a program designed to collect taxes from immigrants, resulting in the agency paying out potentially bogus refunds, according to an official audit released Wednesday.
The Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA) said the IRS is too focused on getting out refunds quickly rather than getting them only to qualified taxpayers. Auditors also said the agency eliminated some methods employees had used to figure out questionable refund requests and doesn’t have the right training or tools to screen out bogus identity documents when immigrants apply for taxpayer numbers.
“TIGTA found an environment which discourages employees from detecting fraudulent applications,” said J. Russell George, the inspector general.
In the wake of the finding, one congressman called on the IRS commissioner to resign.
IRS pays out $6.8 billion in refunds to taxpayers who file using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). They generally are immigrants, here both legally and illegally. The potential amount of fraud was not stated, but the investigators detailed seven schemes that paid out $9 million in tax refunds in 2011
The agency said it has put new checks in place to try to crack down on fraud, including getting training from the Homeland Security Department on how to verify documents when an immigrant applies for an ITIN.
But the IRS disputed the inspector general’s assumption that fraud is rampant in many of the cases in which taxpayers are using the same addresses for multiple applications.
“While this is one of many risk factors for fraud, it is also the case that some taxpayers list the address of the tax return preparer to ensure that any future correspondence from the IRS is received. The IRS is analyzing this issue in more detail as it conducts its review of the ITIN program,” the agency said in a statement.
The auditors took a closer look at fraud after being prompted by senators, who said they had heard complaints from IRS employees that their warnings were being ignored.
Rep. Sam Johnson, Texas Republican, called for IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman to resign.
He has written a bill that would limit the popular child tax credit to only those taxpayers who have a Social Security number. The House passed a bill that included a version of his legislation, but the Senate has not acted on it.
The IRS said the law doesn’t prohibit illegal immigrant parents from obtaining the credit, though many members of Congress disagree.
Overall, the audit painted a picture of some cases investigators said should have raised red flags.
For example, investigators said the IRS issued 23,994 refunds to one address in Atlanta, totaling $46 million in refunds.
And one single bank account was issued 8,393 refunds totaling $236,747, while another account was issued 2,706 refunds totaled $7.3 million in 2011.
“This report is shocking,” said Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., Louisiana Republican and chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the IRS. “It’s one thing if the IRS tries to catch fraud and fails, but it’s quite another when management apparently takes steps to weaken program integrity.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- No comment on petition to deport Bieber
- Red-state Democrats blast latest Keystone delay
- 'Deport Bieber' petition draws no comment from White House
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador's visa, but says law is 'advisory'
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.