As tax season gets into full swing, the IRS has been spreading its dragnet to catch tax fraudsters. This has been doing on since late January and involved the potential theft of thousands of identities and taxpayer refunds. The IRS intends to come down hard on identity theft and tax refund fraud this year and this action is clearly aimed at warning cheats and potential victims to beware this tax season. The IRS deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, Steven Miller said to reporters, “The timing is not coincidental. It’s the start of tax season, this is a large issue, and we want to send a message out there.”
The IRS initiative is being carried out nationwide and has thus far resulted in 80 complaints and indictments, 58 arrests (out of 105 people targeted in 23 states) and 939 criminal charges and counting. The operation saw the IRS working in tandem with the Justice Department’s Tax Department, US Postal services and local US Attorney’s offices. Some cases have been under investigation for months while some even for years.
The worst thing is to find out that someone beat you to filing your own tax return when you submit yours. At one Florida IRS office, at least a dozen tax filers had to spend hours in line to report someone had already filed their returns. Identity theft to fraudulently claim tax refunds was the biggest type of tax fraud. Tax cheats would usually steal your Social Security number at hospitals and schools to claim your tax refund.
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