While it cleans up its act regarding the targeting of conservative groups, a recent Benton County sheriff's report suggests that the IRS has another urgent task. That is to fix its record-keeping system in order to thwart identity thieves.
This last filing season, taxpayers were urged to file early in order to beat the criminals who were filing under their names and claiming refunds. This happened to someone in North Albany. The Benton County Sheriff's Office reported that a resident on Eagle View Drive N.W. made a complaint on June 4.
He had filed his taxes online and sent the IRS a check for what he owed. The IRS rejected his return because someone else had already filed in his name and claimed a large refund. No word on whether the fraudulent refund had already been paid. The sheriff's office said the IRS sent the Albany taxpayer a case number and a pamphlet describing the steps he had already taken.
The IRS is diligent in finding mistakes in returns and making corrections. So why can't it prevent criminals from fraudulently using other people's names and Social Security numbers? Is there some big gap in its system? If so, the public and Congress had better find out before, with Obamacare, the IRS takes on even more jobs next year. (hh)