Howard Antelis, a tax examiner at an ITIN issuing center said, “I’m horrified and ashamed and embarrassed by what I’ve seen. It’s not supposed to be like this. We’re supposed to protect taxpayers, so somebody had to say something.” Not only that, Antelis revealed that the problem is actually more serious than just issuing ITINs fraudulently. According to him, “IRS workers had been told by upper management to ignore the fraud and pay out the refunds to those who did not deserve them.” This is a situation where committing a crime is wrong but abetting it is just as wrong.
Not wanting to make sweeping statements without proof, Antelis pointed to a stack of ITIN applications for children at a school in South Carolina. Upon researching the details of the application, Antelis discovered that the school never even existed.
“C’mon. This is fraud! Those kids weren’t even real and I’m supposed to give out [ITIN] numbers?,” Antelis lamented. “We’re tax examiners but the truth is we’re not supposed to look into anything. We’re not supposed to examine anything. It’s like an assembly line. It’s just ‘Get it out of here. Boom. Boom. Boom. Get it out of here and don’t worry about the fraud. Fraud slows us down.’”
As a last resort, Antelis made a report about this abuse to the Tax Inspector General’s Office in Washington D.C. The IG’s office has since launched its own audit on the IRS and a report on its findings is due out later this year.