Tags: IRS | taxpayers | social security | stolen | illegal immigrants

IRS Didn't Tell Taxpayers That 1M Social Security Numbers Were Stolen

Image: IRS Didn't Tell Taxpayers That 1M Social Security Numbers Were Stolen

(Photo By Bill Clark/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 Aug 2016 11:55 AM

The Internal Revenue Service's inspector general reported that one million Americans had their Social Security numbers stolen by illegal immigrants, but the IRS did not tell the victims of the thefts.

The Washington Times said the inspector general's report pointed out that investigators alerted the IRS about the issue five years ago, and it remains unfixed.

"The IRS has not established an effective process to ensure that the required notice is sent to the Social Security Administration to alert it of earnings not associated with a victim of employment-related identity theft," the inspector general's report said.

Indiana Republican Sen. Daniel Coats rebuked the IRS, according to the Times report.

"It is stunning that the IRS has chosen to aid and abet identity thieves for so long instead of protecting the innocent victims of the theft," Coats said.

The IRS finds out about the issue when illegal immigrants file their taxes using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), which the agency gives primarily to illegal immigrants, in order for them to pay taxes, regardless of whether they are legally allowed to be in the U.S. The number also makes its users eligible for some tax credits, especially if their children are U.S. citizens, according to the Washington Times.

IRS small business and self-employed division commissioner Karen Schiller said the agency would try to alert all taxpayers starting in 2017. "As we continue to battle and make progress against all strains of identity theft in the tax ecosystem, we recognized that we were missing an important part in this effort — the taxpaying public," Schiller said.

The IRS said federal law prevents it from notifying taxpayers who stole their identity. According to the agency, its job is to collect taxes, not enforce immigration laws.

The Times also reported that IRS Commissioner John G. Koskinen first admitted to the issue at an April hearing. "They are undocumented aliens. They're paying taxes. It's in everybody's interest to have them pay the taxes they owe," Koskinen said.

The inspector general's report said that illegal immigrants could use fraudulent Social Security numbers to get jobs, but they only needed the ITINs to file taxes.

According to the report, addressing the problem is important because of the harm it might cause to Social Security benefits, the Times reports.

"The lack of a formal process to ensure that the SSA (Social Security Administration) is notified of income not associated with an innocent taxpayer is problematic because this information is essential to ensure that victims' Social Security benefits are not affected," the report stated.

Conservatives in the House of Representatives are ready to launch an attempt to impeach Koskinen.

"The only thing up in the air is whether it will be the first or second week we're back," Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming said.

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The Internal Revenue Service's inspector general reported that one million Americans had their Social Security numbers stolen by illegal immigrants, but the IRS did not tell the victims of the thefts.
taxpayers, social security, stolen, illegal immigrants
463
2016-55-31
Wednesday, 31 Aug 2016 11:55 AM
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