IRS Accelerates Detection of Fraudulent Refund Returns

Pursuant to its 2011 audit plan, TIGTA conducted its annual audit of IRS activities during the 2011 filing season. The purpose of the audit was to evaluate whether the IRS timely and accurately processed individual paper and electronically filed tax returns. The final report is dated September 28th, but was just released to the public on November 1st.

One of the highlights of this report was the dramatic increase in fraudulent refund returns. As of April 30, 2011 the IRS had identified 775,723 fraudulent refund returns — $4.6 billion worth — compared to 286,670 identified by the same time last year (a 171% increase). Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that the IRS, through its screening efforts, detected 96% of them, therefore, no refund was issued.

The IRS is clearly increasing its efforts in this area. It is even beefing up its screening of prisoner tax returns, which are often fraudulent. As of April 30, 2011, the IRS reported that it had selected 199,854 tax returns filed by prisoners for screening (a 256% increased compared with the 2010 filing season).

Read full report here.

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