Aside from Congress as a whole, the IRS is one of the most hated parts of our government if you look at the public opinion polls. It’s not hard to see why when they’re confiscating a third of the nation’s income in the form of taxes (on average). And despite that, many Americans would likely pay an extra percent of their income if it saved them the hassle every tax season. With an extremely complex tax code spanning over 70,000 pages in length, American taxpayers spend an estimated 3.24 billion hours filing their taxes every tax season, which amounts to $37 billion in compliance costs. It’s practically like there’s a tax on paying taxes!
For all the money we’re sending their way, you’d think the least they could do is be honest with us, right? Wrong.
Via the Washington Times
The IRS has discovered more than 1 million Americans whose Social Security numbers were stolen by illegal immigrants, but officials never bothered to tell the taxpayers themselves, the agency’s inspector general said in a withering new report released Tuesday.
Investigators first alerted the IRS to the problem five years ago, but it’s still not fixed, the inspector general said, and a pilot program meant to test a solution was canceled, and fell woefully short anyway.
As a result most taxpayers don’t learn that their identities have been stolen and their Social Security files may be screwed up.“Taxpayers identified as victims of employment-related identity theft are not notified,” the inspector general said.
Victims’ numbers are stolen by illegal immigrants who need to give employers a valid Social Security number in order to get a job. Employers are prohibited from probing too deeply into numbers, even when they suspect fraud.Between 2011 and 2015, the agency flagged nearly 1.1 million returns where someone appeared to have stolen a valid Social Security number, the inspector general said.
Another consequence of illegals obtaining Social Security numbers fraudulently is that it grants them access to the American welfare state. In 2011 for instance, an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that illegal workers were paid $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits. The IRS even seems to be encouraging this sort of fraud, as Forbes noted in a piece earlier this year.
The IRS actually wants illegal immigrants to illegally use Social Security numbers, he suggested. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made the surprising statement in response to a question from Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., at a Senate Finance Committee meeting. The question was a touchy one. Gee, is the IRS collaborating with taxpayers who file tax returns using fraudulent information? It wasn’t put exactly that way. According to Senator Coats: “What we learned is that … the IRS continues to process tax returns with false W-2 information and issue refunds as if they were routine tax returns, and say that’s not really our job. We also learned the IRS ignores notifications from the Social Security Administration that a name does not match a Social Security number, and you use your own system to determine whether a number is valid.”
Contrary to the Department of Homeland Security’s famous slogan,”if you see something, say something,” the IRS’ seems to be “if you see something, ignore it.”
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]