Marc Ferris | Immigration Reform Blog
Another tax season has arrived and with it comes the annual soaking of the American taxpayer. Every year, the Internal Revenue Service doles out billions of dollars in tax credits and other funds to illegal immigrants and their families, some of whom do not even live in the United States, despite the wonderful work a few years ago by the Eyewitness News team at WTHR in Indianapolis. Led by chief investigative reporter Bob Segall, the story gained widespread attention on Capitol Hill, but the situation remains unchanged.
Then, late last year, Segall identified another incredible scenario: even though the IRS is able to easily identify undocumented workers who are using fake Social Security numbers, the agency chooses to look the other way – even when a valid Social Security number belonging to an American citizen is used to file a tax return and wreaks havoc on his or her life.
The secret IRS policy is so damaging to American citizens whose Social Security numbers are surreptitiously used by illegal aliens – 1.2 million fraud victims last year alone – that two whistleblowers came forward to WTHR to reveal the problem. “I love my country,” said one. “That’s why I’m here. It’s a crime. I don’t care what you call it, it’s a crime,” said one, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
Everyone who earns money must file a tax return, even if in the country illegally. The IRS actually issues illegals an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to facilitate tax filing, but one needs a Social Security number to get a job. Thus, tax returns from illegals often have two numbers associated with them, the ITIN and the Social Security Number on the W-2 earnings statement. If they don’t match, that’s a pretty clear indication of identity theft.
But not only does the agency refuse to do anything about it, their policies encourage the practice. The IRS even knows where the perpetrators live and work, since they are filing forms with the information, but refuses to crack down.
WTHR found two victims of identity fraud, singled out by the IRS for under-reporting their income, since the agency received two W-2 forms with the same Social Security number. Legal taxpayers, who have no idea that their Social Security numbers are being used illegally, only report one income. One victim, Albert Allen, lost his family’s health insurance due to the snafu: “I had to go months hoping that my kids didn’t get hurt because they didn’t have the insurance,” he said.
The rub is that the IRS knew all along that Allen was the victim of the identity fraud. Yet the agency chooses to keep victims like him in the dark and protect the criminals. And, they made him file papers to prove that he had no knowledge of the situation, a matter that is still unresolved, since his Social Security number continues to be used by an illegal immigrant – and why not if there’s no penalty?
The IRS calls illegal immigrants who use another’s Social Security number a “borrower,” rather than a thief. The policy manual directive to workers is clear: “Do not disclose to the taxpayer that the Form W-2 containing their Social Security number was reported on an ITIN return.” Allen expressed shock, saying that this “would cause more people to do it.”
When asked if it would be acceptable for an American citizen taxpayer to borrow someone else’s Social Security number, one whistleblower replied: “Hell no. It’s stealing. You’re taking something without that person’s consent.” His colleague said that “every day you see this over and over and over and over again.”
Identity theft by illegal immigrants is rampant and the Obama administration is complicit. Despite constantly complaining about budget restrictions, the IRS holds up applications for tax-exempt status for organizations whose political views the administration opposes, and goes after the under-reported income of individual taxpayers – even for as little as a few dollars in back taxes.
It is unconscionable that the agency encourages illegal immigrants to continue working without authorization, refuses to punish identity thieves and allows citizen taxpayers to be victimized.