The IRS has responded to a request I made by announcing an expansion of a pilot program to allow local law enforcement in eight states, including Pennsylvania, to go after perpetrators of tax fraud.
I contacted the IRS in August after Pennsylvania law enforcement officials notified me of a new trend in tax fraud where fraudulent tax returns were filed using legitimate Social Security numbers to generate improper tax refunds. In a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, I asked him to explain how the department is addressing this form of tax fraud in Pennsylvania.
Under the current system, the IRS could not work with local law enforcement officials since taxpayer information is confidential. The IRS's pilot program, however, will ask tax fraud victims to fill out a form giving the IRS permission to work with local law enforcement and share a limited amount of taxpayer data in order to target identity thieves.
I am pleased the IRS will now be able to coordinate with local law enforcement officials to more aggressively pursue perpetrators of tax fraud. Clearly, any kind of tax fraud is a waste of taxpayer dollars and must be stopped. I am grateful to local officials for bringing this critical issue to my attention, and I hope the IRS will use this step forward to crack down on all forms of tax fraud.
I visited Berks and Montgomery counties in October to meet with local district attorneys and highlight this new IRS program. I'm pictured above with Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.