Tags: irs | tax | refunds | theft

Report: IRS Sent $4 Billion in Bogus Tax Refunds Last Year

Image: Report: IRS Sent $4 Billion in Bogus Tax Refunds Last Year

Monday, 11 Nov 2013 10:47 AM

By Dan Weil

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The Internal Revenue Service was hoodwinked into doling out $4 billion in tax refunds to identity thieves in 2012, according to an inspector general's report.

The report, released Thursday, shows that some of the money went to addresses in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ireland and Singapore, The Associated Press reports. Six hundred fifty-five refunds were sent to a single address in Lithuania.

In the United States, Miami topped the charts for false refunds. Other cities ranking high on the list were Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and Houston.

The bad guys are getting bolder despite IRS efforts to stop them, says the report by J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.

Tax hoodlums frequently purloin Social Security numbers from people who don't have to file tax returns, even dead people, the report says. The cheats also steal Social Security numbers from legitimate taxpayers, filing phony returns before the legitimate filers can finish theirs.

The IRS, which tries to send out refunds quickly, often forks them over before employers provide the government with wage documentation, the report says.

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