Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) has introduced legislation to prevent illegal immigrants from claiming billions in tax credits intended for American citizens and legal workers.
According to the Treasury Department Inspector General, illegal immigrants are cashing in on the Additional Child Tax Credit to the tune of $4.2 billion each year. The Internal Revenue Service has refused to act despite repeated warnings from the Inspector General.
"This credit was created to help working families offset the costs of raising children, not to help people offset the costs of living in this country illegally," said Kingston. "But apparently the IRS is too busy targeting conservative groups to stop sending the checks to care. It's time to close this loophole and shut off this incentive for illegal immigration."
Illegal immigrants are able to exploit the loophole because the IRS does not require filers to provide their Social Security number in order to claim the credit. The Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act would require a valid Social Security Number for both the parent claiming the credit and the dependent child.
An investigative reporter in Indianapolis, IN recently uncovered cases in which illegal immigrants were claiming the credit for relatives who did not even live in the United States. One illegal immigrant interviewed admitted to claiming 20 children and collecting returns totaling $29,608. In reality only one child was observed to live at the residence while 19 others lived in Mexico and had never visited the United States.
"One case like this is completely unacceptable," Kingston said. "That it could be happening all across the country and that the IRS has been warned about it is outrageous. If the IRS is unwilling to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars, it is up to Congress to force them."
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill would save taxpayers at least $7.6 billion over 10 years.
Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) is joining Kingston in sponsoring the legislation. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.