Sunday, February 16, 2014

The IRS and tax cheats

Michael Kranish has an article in today's Boston Globe entitled:  "IRS is overwhelmed by identity theft fraud" (Globe, 2/16/13). He describes how the IRS seems unable to control the recent flood of cheating by means of filing phony returns and getting fraudulent refunds. One case involved a woman to cheated to the extent of hundreds of thousands of dollars in made-up returns using stolen IDs. She then had the audacity of advertising her success on her Facebook page. 

How can someone stupid enough to advertise on Facebook that she had cheated our country out of lots of money have gotten away with it for so long?

This question is answered by Mr. Kranish himself. In fact, the IRS knows what steps need to taken. Temporarily, no returns should be issued until April 15, when (nearly) everyone has filed. This would give the IRS the opportunity to detect multiple returns (the real one and the identity-theft one) and investigate before issuing a check. In the longer term, the IRS needs to have real-time linking of returns with employer, death roll,  and bank information to detect made-up returns based on identity theft. Finally, there has to be better training of IRS agents and more of them. It is well-known that every dollar appropriated to the IRS returns $7 to U.S. citizens; yet -- and this is the true outrage -- the IRS budget is getting cut each year. (See the IRS reports here, and here ).


The reason that the IRS can't afford to stop fraud is that one of our political parties is anti-government and anti-tax. Major forces guiding Republicans, including the Tea Party, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the "Club for Growth", seek to discredit our government in ways that include making the IRS -- collector of the Peoples' assets -- become ineffectual.

If you don't like tax cheats, don't vote for their enabler, the PTR -- the Party for The Rich, formerly the GOP. (Let's make this new and more descriptive name stick: use it in your letters to the editor and articles.)

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