Politics

Internal Revenue Service Paid $4 Billion In Fraudulent Tax Refunds To ID Thieves, Per Report

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Identity thieves cashed in to the tune of $4 billion last year, according to information in an inspector general’s report that was released on Thursday.

Some of the money that was sent to those using stolen identities went to addresses in countries including Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland, according to the Associated Press, which also noted that the Internal Revenue Service sent more than 650 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania and more than 340 refunds to an address in Shanghai.

"Identity theft continues to be a serious problem with devastating consequences for taxpayers and an enormous impact on tax administration," J. Russell George, Treasury's inspector general for tax administration, said in a statement.

Where did the most fraudulent returns go in the United States? Miami got more than any other city with Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and Houston also high up on the list.

CNN notes that the report said the IRS is improving. The fraudulent refund claims is down from the $5.2 billion the agency paid out the year before.

The IRS said it has caught more than 12 million suspicious returns, amounting to $40 billion in refunds over the last two years. Earlier this year, it arrested hundreds of identity theft suspects in a series of raids.

Many fraudulent refund claims are filed using a Social Security number or personal Taxpayer Identification Number tied to a deceased person or dormant account.

Sources: Associated Press, CNN

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