U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has asked IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman to explain how the department is addressing a form of tax fraud found across Pennsylvania.
In a letter to Commissioner Shulman today, Sen. Toomey said Pennsylvania law enforcement officials contacted him about a new trend in tax fraud.
"They have noticed a disturbing trend whereby fraudulent tax returns are being filed using legitimate Social Security numbers in order to generate improper tax refunds. Clearly, any kind of tax fraud is a waste of taxpayer dollars and therefore must be stopped," Sen. Toomey wrote in a letter to Commissioner Shulman today.
Sen. Toomey asked the commissioner to explain what actions the IRS is taking to address this fraud and expressed his hope that existing technology can be used to verify forms quickly and accurately.
District attorneys across southeastern Pennsylvania thanked Sen. Toomey for his efforts to curb this tax fraud.
"Based upon intelligence gathered by local law enforcement agencies in Berks County, tax fraud has become the single most profitable scam taking place in our jurisdiction. What's even more troubling is that the money that is being stolen could be used to fund our schools and countless other projects. We believe that the IRS must act now to stop this fraud, and we thank Sen. Toomey for his attention to this very important problem," said Berks County District Attorney John Adams.
"Tax fraud has been a huge problem locally that has cost federal, state and local governments millions of dollars. In this age of technology, surely there is a relatively easy fix to this problem. I urge the IRS to act expeditiously to end this crime," said Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin.
"I am grateful to Sen. Toomey for his leadership in protecting taxpayers and crime victims by compelling the IRS to actually investigate tax fraud and identity theft occurring in our communities. Law enforcement officers and crime victims in Montgomery County have been frustrated by the utter failure of the IRS to investigate reports of criminal activity or to share information with local police which would allow them to investigate, arrest, and prosecute offenders. In far too many cases, the IRS has failed to act upon reports of criminal identity theft, leaving victims to bear the consequences of crimes committed against them and allowing scam artists and crooks to steal our tax dollars. Sen. Toomey's efforts to protect taxpayers and crime victims are most appreciated," said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.
"My office is currently investigating this kind of tax fraud in Chester County. I support Sen. Toomey's efforts and hope the IRS will help crack down on this fraud soon," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.
"Pennsylvania prosecutors support Sen. Toomey's efforts to focus the IRS on this type of tax fraud, which costs our municipalities and our state millions," said Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.
The full text of the senator's letter is below.
Aug. 24, 2012
Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Dear Commissioner Shulman,
I am writing regarding a particular type of tax fraud that has been brought to my attention by concerned law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania. They have noticed a disturbing trend whereby fraudulent tax returns are being filed using legitimate Social Security numbers in order to generate improper tax refunds. Clearly, any kind of tax fraud is a waste of taxpayer dollars and therefore must be stopped.
In recent testimony at a hearing before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller indicated that this activity and other types of fraud are well known to the IRS, and that he believes that progress has been made to limit such abuses.
Could you please explain what action you have initiated to address this specific type of tax fraud? It is my hope that we can utilize existing technological resources to verify these returns in an expedient and accurate manner. Some also have suggested verifying W-2s against employer records before refunds are sent out to stop this fraud.
I appreciate your consideration of this information request.
United States Senator