There are days in this business that make me just want to curl up in the tiny space underneath my desk and cry. This is one of them. According to today’s “Fraud of the Day” from The Huffington Post, 741 tax returns were filed to the federal government from a single address. But wait, there’s more! The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) then proceeded to issue over $1 million in combined refunds to that household.

It’s not surprising that this sort of shenanigan was pulled off in Florida, which – according to the article – just so happens to be where three out of the five U.S. addresses are located that filed the greatest number of tax returns in 2010. (I’m going under the desk! You can’t stop me!)

Because scams like this are growing more common, it’s getting harder for law-abiding taxpayers to get refunds that actually belong to them. Not only that, but the article reports that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration estimates the agency will send out $21 billion in refunds to criminals in the next five years. (I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.)

And perhaps the idea of stealing from the government is daunting to most, but apparently some guy managed to do it from a jail cell with a typewriter. (A typewriter?! Really guys?! I’ll be under my desk.) Isn’t it time we started using identity management tools to start checking identities before we send the checks?

  1. Only when Congress fully funds agencies such as the IRS will they be able to root out such fraud. It takes trained analysts to do this work and that costs money. Sadly most Americans are unwilling to pay sufficient taxes so that we can fund these agencies, and Congress seems less and less interested in adequately funding agencies to do this important work. Since the Affordable Care Act’s passage Medicare has done an outstanding job recouping overpayments. I was initially against the outsourcing to private entities the job of recouping Medicare overpayments but it is working. Perhaps the IRS should consider Medicare’s model.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>