During a House Budget Committee hearing today on the President's FY2014 revenue and economic policy proposals, U.S. Rep. Kathy (D-Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL) Castor pressed Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to focus additional attention to prevention of tax fraud relating to identity theft.
"The Treasury Department Inspector General projects that U.S. taxpayers could lose $21 billion over the next decade unless the IRS can stem growing tax refund fraud. I am pleased the President's budget recognizes this as a national epidemic that is devastating the lives of hard-working Americans," said Rep. Castor, a member of the important Budget Committee. "For the past two years, Tampa has been the epicenter of these tax fraud and identity theft crimes, involving almost 89,000 tax returns and more than $468 million in taxpayer dollars. Thanks to the aggressive work by the Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Attorney and our local media, together we have brought this problem to the national spotlight. This is a bipartisan issue and the President's focus on it should be applauded, but there is much more that the Treasury Department can do."
"Although the IRS is implementing what was learned through pilot projects with Tampa Bay law enforcement nationwide, the ability of the IRS to prevent issuance of fraudulent refunds remains a major problem."
Rep. Castor will continue to press the IRS with legislation to ensure progress is codified and penalties increased.