That is the sensational headline from this Huffington Post story last night Here is how the more sedate Accounting Today reports it..
Billions in ID Theft–Related Tax Fraud Undetected by IRS
The report, by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration , noted that the IRS reported that it detected 938,664 tax returns totaling $6.5 billion in fraud for processing year 2011 tax returns. Using the characteristics of confirmed identity theft, TIGTA identified approximately 1.5 million additional undetected tax returns with potentially fraudulent tax refunds totaling in excess of $5.2 billion. TIGTA estimates that the IRS could issue $21 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over the next five years
So, instead of solving these serious issues of fraud and tax collection shortfalls in the homeland, let’s launch offshore and spend all our limited resources chasing an estimated $800 million a year instead on world wide FATCA effort, shall we? That makes sense. Let’s deploy a distraction strategy to get people to look far away, rather than up close, at home, where the real problems lie. Don’t look behind the curtain, Dorothy!
Here is a little more reading material about issues in the Homeland that I would think should require more attention, than this misplaced enormous FATCA effort offshore…
IRS policies help fuel tax refund fraud, officials say – CNN.com
With Personal Data in Hand, Thieves File Early and Often – NYTimes …
Chicago address No. 2 on list for receiving fraudulent tax refunds
Tax Scam: IRS Pays Out Billions in Fraudulent Refunds
IRS may have refunded $5 billion or more to identity thieves
Tax Return Fraud Running Rampant In Florida
Florida Police Rocked by Tax Refund Fraud Cases – Officer.com
Identity Tax Scams Blossom in Florida Sun – Forbes
WASHINGTON: Feds: Tax fraud an epidemic in Florida and …
Two Florida Men Convicted of Tax Refund Fraud that used Stolen …
Great post, Just Me.
But this isn’t a problem at all. This is wealth redistribution. How much you want to be that the people benefiting from these fraudulent tax returns are going to vote the incumbent back into power?
*from the Reuters article JustMe tweeted earlier today
In another matter, Shulman defended the IRS’ ability to keep taxpayers’ information private after a Republican legislator asked him about a watchdog report released on Thursday that said identity theft problems are bigger than the IRS can currently prevent.
“There is no allegation in that report or any other place that information (is) being taken out of the IRS for identity theft purposes,” Shulman said.”
Willfully blind he is, don’t you think? ;-P
IRS Needs to Further Enhance Internal Control over Financial Reporting and Taxpayer Data GAO-12-393, Mar 16, 2012
“Considered collectively, these deficiencies, both new and unresolved
from previous GAO audits, along with a lack of fully effective
compensating and mitigating controls, impair IRS’s ability to ensure
that its financial and taxpayer information is secure from internal
threats. This reduces IRS’s assurance that its financial statements and
other financial information are fairly presented or reliable and that
sensitive IRS and taxpayer information is being sufficiently safeguarded
from unauthorized disclosure or modification. These deficiencies are
the basis of GAO’s determination that IRS had a material weakness in
internal control over financial reporting related to information
security in fiscal year 2011.”
……”In 2010 alone, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identified over
245,000 identity theft incidents that affected the tax system. The
hundreds of thousands of taxpayers with tax problems caused by identity
theft represent a small percentage of the expected 140 million
individual returns filed, but for those affected, the problems can be
and to add more fuel to this fire… 🙂
TIGTA CONFIRMS ALLEGATIONS THAT IRS EMPLOYEES WERE DISCOURAGED FROM IDENTIFYING POTENTIALLY FRAUDULENT ITIN APPLICATIONS
By David Barnes, TIGTA, 8 August 2012. David.firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – Complaints from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees that their supervisors were urging them to ignore potential fraud in a program that reviews and verifies applications for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) have been validated in a report publicly released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
The ITIN program was created in 1996 so that individuals who are not eligible to obtain Social Security Numbers could obtain an identification number for tax purposes. In 2011, the IRS processed more than 2.9 million ITIN tax returns resulting in tax refunds of $6.8 billion.
Following referrals from Members of Congress, TIGTA reviewed complaints from IRS employees regarding the management of the ITIN Program. The objective of TIGTA’s review was to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the IRS’s process to identify questionable ITIN applications.
TIGTA substantiated many of the allegations set forth in the IRS employees’ complaints. Those complaints alleged that IRS management is not concerned with addressing questionable applications and is interested only in the volume of applications that can be processed, regardless of whether they are potentially fraudulent. In particular, TIGTA found that IRS management:
“TIGTA’s audit found that IRS management has not established adequate internal controls to detect and prevent the assignment of an ITIN to individuals submitting questionable applications,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
“Even more troubling, TIGTA found an environment which discourages employees from detecting fraudulent applications,” he continued, adding, “To their credit, the IRS recently announced a series of improvements that will take effect immediately on an interim basis, in response to our findings. It is to be hoped that significant, systematic change, rather than interim improvements, will take place.”
TIGTA made nine recommendations in its report. The IRS agreed with seven of the recommendations and has announced plans to implement interim changes based on TIGTA’s findings. IRS management is considering the other two recommendations while it conducts its own review.
Read the report by clicking here.
If IRS management the detection of fraudulant ITINs then the crooks had inside guys that are getting kick backs. Doesn’t anyone ever watch the Sopranos? The scheme is set up where everyone gets their share, including the person in the government.
So instead of collecting bank information from us, they should be looking into the accounts of IRS employees and management; some are likely getting big bumps in their account balances. I wonder where they keep their secret accounts. I know, find the country the IRS hasn’t started hassling yet. Then that will be where they keep their money.
So “938,664 fraud tax returns totaling $6.5 billion” loss in one year
while ripping off 33,000 taxpayers on offshore penalty of $5 billion in the last three years.
They should do much better than that if they are really smart and elite and best educated.
This is Obama’s vision
Everyone should have a fair shot and pay their fair share
@ij: It is more like:
Everyone should have a fair shot at getting other peoples money as tax refund (why just government, rich and bankers get to enjoy other people’s money)
The programs to accomplish this:
The illegal can claim 10 children back home.
Then the plain old tax refund scam using stolen social security numbers.
The US has OVDI/FBAR to get money belong to other courtiers.
This is old, but I thought the 800 million figure mentioned is a propos. http://reason.com/blog/2011/12/28/stupid-new-washington-law-blocks-america
And the identity thieves are so determined, that in this US news story, they gunned down a postal worker in order to obtain information:
…”he was gunned down on his daily mail route in December 2010 by members of an identity theft ring who stole his master key as part of a scheme to claim fraudulent tax refunds.
Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, criminals are filing phony electronic tax forms to claim refunds, exploiting a slow-moving federal bureaucracy to collect the money before victims, or the Internal Revenue Service, discover the fraud.
Parton was a victim of what officials say has ballooned into a massive, and dangerous, illegal industry that could cost the nation $21 billion over the next five years, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.”….
…..”Last summer a hacker stole 3.8 million unencrypted tax records from the South Carolina Department of Revenue in what is believed to be the largest security breach of a U.S. tax agency. Authorities say they do not know the hacker’s motive.
One North Miami man, Rodney Saint Fleur, was charged last year with using the LexisNexis research service account at the law firm where he worked to access names and Social Security numbers of 26,000 people as part of an identity theft scheme, according to court documents….”
…”In December, a former U.S. Marine from North Miami was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for stealing the identities of more than 40 fellow Marines stationed at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan as part of a plot to claim $54,000 in fraudulent income-tax refunds.”
Now consider that this is domestic identity theft inside the US. Now consider the implications for those in countries abroad, where the banks, financial institutions, and potentially shaky governments are to collect and remit FATCA information on the assets and accounts of all individuals deemed to be ‘US persons’. If criminals WITHIN the US would gun down a postal worker to gain access to the information needed to steal masses of identity information, what would the odds be that in countries with even more corruption, that our private information would be secure? See the previous IBS thread http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2012/12/07/fatca-facilitating-attacks-by-terrorists-on-citizens-abroad/
Oh, don’t worry, the IRS told the OECD that they are working on security protocols at the most recent meeting in Paris. All will be just fine. “trust us” They’ll have new numbers to deal with that! LOL