Yesterday, I posted a link to a Treasury Department audit report that said that 1.2 million people had earned income using other people’s Social Security numbers, and then filed their returns using individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) that often enable them to get tax refunds — even while they had stolen someone else’s SSN to work. Amazingly, it seems that the IRS has no really meaningful way to deal with this or to warn the victims of ID theft that their SSN was being used by someone else. The IRS disputed the audit’s findings, but the audit is the audit.
Today, Kathy Kristof has a column explaining how this happens that is well worth reading as a lesson in loopholes and how Congress needs to address this problem. She writes, in part:
There are about 3 million individuals filing with ITINs, according to the Taxpayer Inspector General’s report. Roughly 1.2 million of those appear to be using Social Security numbers used by other taxpayers.
“The IRS does not actively try to identify or stop the individuals from committing identity theft,” the TIGTA report says. Nor does the agency notify the employer of the problem because the agency believes this would violate tax privacy laws.
Read more on BNET.
Thanks to the ITRC for sending me the link to the column.