IRS Refunded Tens of Millions of Dollars to Unauthorized Illegal Workers

By:  Dave Bohon
IRS Refunded Tens of Millions of Dollars to Unauthorized Illegal Workers

In 2011 the IRS paid out tens of millions of dollars in federal refunds to thousands of illegal immigrant workers who claimed single addresses around the nation.

The woes of the Internal Revenue Service continue as reported June 21 that in 2011, the federal tax bureaucracy sent nearly 24,000 tax refunds totaling more than $46 million to “unauthorized” immigrant workers who all claimed the same Atlanta, Georgia, address. The revelation came in a July 16, 2012 audit report prepared by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) — a report titled tellingly, “Substantial Changes Are Needed to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Program to Detect Fraudulent Applications.”

According to the TIGTA report, the address was one of several in Atlanta used by unauthorized workers to receive millions of dollars in federal tax refunds in 2011. The top Atlanta address received 23,994 tax refunds worth a combined total of $46,378,040. A second Atlanta address received 11,284 refunds worth $2,164,976 in refunds to unauthorized immigrant workers; 3,608 refunds worth $2,691,448 went to a third; and a fourth garnered 2,386 refunds for $1,232,943.

Similar refunds went to bogus addresses around the country, with, among the top ten: 2,507 refunds worth $10,395,874 going to an address in Oxnard, California; 2,408 refunds worth $7,284,212 to Raleigh, North Carolina; 2,047 refunds worth $5,558,608 to a Phoenix, Arizona address; 1,972 refunds for a $2,256,302 to an address in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; 1,942 refunds for $5,091,027 to one address in San Jose, California; and 1,846 refunds worth $3,298,877 sent to and address in Arvin, California.

The apparent scam is nothing new for the IRS.'s Terence Jeffrey reported that since 1996 “the IRS has issued what it calls Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to two classes of persons: 1) non-resident aliens who have a tax liability in the United States, and 2) aliens living in the United States who are 'not authorized to work in the United States.'”

As long ago as 1999 the Treasury Inspector General drew attention to the problem, noting that the IRS was giving tax numbers to "undocumented aliens," thus helping them to work illegally in the United States.

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