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I got very steamed last night after watching the news and found out theft of tax returns was up about 5-fold. IRS paid out over a billion dollars to theives, accoriding the the national news report on one of the major networks (don't remember which one it was). It was up from the previous year, which was about 250 million, I think.

So, how many employees could the IRS have hired with that billion dollars to reduce the amount of theft??
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IRS paid out over a billion dollars to theives, accoriding the the national news report on one of the major networks (don't remember which one it was). It was up from the previous year, which was about 250 million, I think.

So, how many employees could the IRS have hired with that billion dollars to reduce the amount of theft??


None. The politicians are all about reducing the size of gummint. It is, after all, an election year.

The IRS is one of those rare creatures among government agencies. It actually makes money. To a certain point (which we'll never reach) receipts grow faster than expenditures. There are also legitimate concerns about just how much information we as a society want the IRS to get its hands on. Witness the reporting of basis on stock sales, which is creeping into operation. The IRS was trying to get that legislation when I retired in 1997.

OMG, I really should turn the TV off. DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) just uttered the famous "waste fraud and abuse" (WFA) mantra. I started working for the IRS when Nixon was in office; retired during Clinton's second term. Every administration had at least one initiative to eliminate WFA. Every one of them produced mammoth reports, the preparation of which had taken employees away from their regular duties, and accomplished little.

There was one good thing about them, though. For years IRS's computer people, while moving at the pace of a Dickens novel on systems modernization, refused to make any noncritical changes to "legacy" systems (the ones actually being used). So, when the periodic WFA initiative hit, all one had to do was find a way to tie needed system changes to WFA, et voila! Problem solved.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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There are also legitimate concerns about just how much information we as a society want the IRS to get its hands on.

I'm more worried about a mortgage broker than the IRS. The broker has my tax return, pay stubs, credit report and investment account statements. All of that information is either on one of their computers that may or may not be protected well from hackers or in a file cabinet protected with a flimsy lock.
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I got very steamed last night after watching the news and found out theft of tax returns was up about 5-fold. IRS paid out over a billion dollars to theives, accoriding the the national news report

To steal my tax refund, if I were to get one, they would have to file my return for me and put in their bank account information in the return instead of the one I use. Because in those years when I get a refund, I have the IRS EFT the money into my account. As the IRS tries to get more people to e-file, they should also make them get their refunds by EFT to reduce the theft a lot.
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...uttered the famous "waste fraud and abuse" (WFA) mantra.

My husband works for a government contractor, so he has tons of stories about how much money is spend to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. Talk about spending a dollar to save a dime! However, I have one on a smaller, more understandable scale.

The high school library had gotten in a shipment of new books and was retiring a nearly-equivalent number of old books. Because the district did not want to have the appearance of the school "playing favorites" by donating the old books, and because there was some rule against selling school property, the old books were destined for the incinerator.

This upset the librarian to no end. She would explain what was happening to anyone entering the library, state that whatever books were on the table the following week were to be burned, and then leave to use the restroom or run an errand. Most books disappeared.

Kathleen
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I got very steamed last night after watching the news and found out theft of tax returns was up about 5-fold. IRS paid out over a billion dollars to theives, accoriding the the national news report

To steal my tax refund, if I were to get one, they would have to file my return for me and put in their bank account information in the return instead of the one I use. Because in those years when I get a refund, I have the IRS EFT the money into my account. As the IRS tries to get more people to e-file, they should also make them get their refunds by EFT to reduce the theft a lot.


But that's not what's happening. The theft is occurring when someone gets hold of your SSN and files a completely fraudulent return using your name and SSN before you file a legitimate return. In one case just revealed in NY, the alleged mastermind ran a business purportedly helping unemployed people find new jobs. No (few?) jobs were found, but the job seekers became victims of fraudulent tax filings. The assumption was that many of them would have so little income that they wouldn't need to file a return.

Ira
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But that's not what's happening. The theft is occurring when someone gets hold of your SSN and files a completely fraudulent return using your name and SSN before you file a legitimate return.

A friend of mine was a victim of a similar scam last year. Someone got their hands on employee data for the local school board. That's right, they targeted public school teachers. They submitted false returns for a bunch of teachers, along with bogus returns claiming refunds. Oh, and changed their address to a new location. All in February, before most people would file. The IRS mailed checks for these refunds.

My friend found out when she tried to file her legitimate return, and it got rejected. When she reported it to police, they were already on the case, just hadn't found all the victims yet. Even after the fraud was communicated and acknowledged by the IRS, it took a full year to get her the refund she was owed.
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The theft is occurring when someone gets hold of your SSN and files a completely fraudulent return using your name and SSN before you file a legitimate return.

That is what I meant by saying someone files a tax return for me. I did not mean that I asked that someone to do that.
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,i>The theft is occurring when someone gets hold of your SSN and files a completely fraudulent return using your name and SSN before you file a legitimate return. </b.

That is what I meant by saying someone files a tax return for me. I did not mean that I asked that someone to do that.

My mistake, then. I thought you were suggesting that someone would take your return and change the direct deposit info.

Ira
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...just uttered the famous "waste fraud and abuse" (WFA) mantra.

There's no doubt in my pea brain that WFA exists and that there's serious money involved. But I'd really like to hear politicians who start blowing their WFA smoke in our faces get asked a question and a followup:

1) Name two specific examples each of fraud, of waste, and of abuse.

2) Since you know about these two instances, why haven't you eliminated them already?

Rooting out WFA is hard, even in private industry where the incentives to do so are real. For politicians, it's only important in election years, and then it's just chit-chat.

Eric Hines
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I'd really like to hear politicians who start blowing their WFA smoke in our faces get asked a question and a followup:

On a related campaign season front, my question for all incumbents:

Do you favor tax simplification? (Guess what the answer is)

My followup:

How did you vote on the last five bills amending the Internal Revenue Code, each of which made it more complicated?

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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I'd really like to hear politicians who start blowing their WFA smoke in our faces get asked a question and a followup:

1) Name two specific examples each of fraud, of waste, and of abuse.

2) Since you know about these two instances, why haven't you eliminated them already?


Examples probably exist in the congressman's office, where the congressman himself is drawing sneak pay for being a legislator representing those who voted for him, when actually he is representing the lobbyists who pay his reelection expenses and other perqs. To expect a congressman to eliminate or even reduce something like this is less likely than expecting one to walk on water.
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Exactly what we are going through - tried to file in Feb electronically - but some crook had already e-filed.

How can we possibly safeguard our data with all these requirements to give information - to employers, banks, colleges etc?

nag
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