Diaz-Balart: "We Need to Do More to Help Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Victims"

Statement

By:  Mario Diaz-Balart
Date: Nov. 29, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) offered the following remarks at the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency and Management hearing: "Identity Theft and Tax Fraud: Growing Problems for the Internal Revenue Service."

"As some of you may know, South Florida has been one of the most affected areas in the country when it comes to IRS identity theft issues. I've had dozens of constituents reach out to me because their tax returns have been stolen and they've felt absolutely helpless. I've even had numerous constituents who've had their tax returns stolen more than once, which is completely unacceptable.

"These people are honest, hard working individuals who rely heavily on their tax return to help pay their bills. We need to do more to help those victims and to prevent these crimes from taking place in the future. This has been one of my top priorities and I've worked closely with the IRS to help resolve this epidemic of fraud. While the IRS has made some vast improvements over the last year, there is still much that needs to be done. I was happy to hear about the Identity Theft Victim Disclosure Waiver Pilot Program that was implemented in Florida in April of this year. So far the program seems to be helping state and local authorities prosecute the individuals responsible for these crimes.

"While this program is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done on the issue. So far, most of what the IRS has implemented deals only with the crime once it's occurred. They need to put a larger focus on the prevention of these crimes. The IRS must come up with a detailed plan to prevent further tax return fraud from taking place while also taking care of the tax payers who have already fallen victim. It's my hope that this hearing will serve as a discussion on how we can improve our tax return system and protect taxpayer's hard earned money."