The Internal Revenue Service sent $7.3 million in refunds to 7,000 illegal aliens who had the same bank account.
Have we entered the twilight zone? Long, long ago.
The IRS has trouble keeping track of things. Two of its employees spotted this FUBAR example years ago. The IRS did nothing. So, they leaked the story to some Congressmen. That led to an investigation. The results were in a year ago. The story is true.
This got released last August.
Only today has the story gotten to the public.
The IRS of course has clammed up. “Let it blow over. It always does.” No doubt it will. But the fact that it happened is indicative of how efficient the IRS is. CNS News reports:
The inspector general’s audit report revealing this remarkable payout was spurred by two IRS employees who went to members of Congress “alleging that IRS management was requiring employees to assign Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) even when the applications were fraudulent.”
“What are ITIN?” you ask. Wikipedia explains.
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (or ITIN) is a United States tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. . . . The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number.
ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have Federal tax return and payment responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code. Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN, unless they meet an exception. An ITIN application cannot be filed electronically (efile). The application, in most cases, should be attached to a valid federal income tax return.
An individual who meets eligibility requirements can file an ITIN application himself or herself. This involves submitting IRS form W-7, which records biographical information, along with specific types of valid supporting ID and a tax return. . . .
The program was created in 1996 for the purpose of tax filing of individuals without a social security account number. Receiving an ITIN number does not in itself confer the right to work and receive income in the United States.
In 2006 1.4 million people used ITIN when filing taxes. Federal tax law prohibits the IRS from sharing data with other government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, assuring unauthorized aliens that the tax information will be confidential and will not be used to initiate removal procedures.
So, what about the report on the $7.3 million in refunds?
The report was completed in June 2012 and released in August 2012. In an August press release that accompanied the report, TIGTA said the report “validated” the complaints of the IRS employees.
“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 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George. “Even more troubling, TIGTA found an environment which discourages employees from detecting fraudulent applications.”
It was business as usual at the IRS. This is how the system works. Nothing ever changes.