Thr answer is: why, sure! . . . if you’re an illegal immigrant, that is:
Howard is a tax examiner at the IRS’s ITIN processing center in Austin, Texas.
The large, unmarked building in south Austin is where the IRS decides whether to issue an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to the millions of illegal immigrants who apply for them. An ITIN allows undocumented workers to file tax returns and pay taxes, a legal requirement for those who earn income in the United States … even those who come to the country illegally.
But 13 Investigates discovered the ITIN system is plagued by abuse and fraud.
. . . .
“We were being told by upper management to ignore fraud, to assign ITIN numbers and … pay out refunds to people who are lying,” Howard explained. “It’s a license to steal when you allow that.”
Howard and five other tax examiners at the ITIN processing center in Austin all told WTHR the same thing: for years, IRS managers have instructed them to “look the other way” while processing ITIN applications that appear to be filed fraudulently – even when those applications contain clear signs of criminal activity.
For example, Howard received a stack of ITIN applications for dozens of children attending the same school in South Carolina. (Adult tax filers can request an ITIN for a child if they want to claim that child as a dependent in order to get child tax credits and a larger tax refund.) When he researched that school, he discovered it didn’t even exist. When Howard reported the apparent scam to his bosses, he claims his managers ordered him to approve the applications anyway.
The matter is now being examined by the Inspector General.
UPDATE: The linked story is a year old, but there is a report in the Austin American Statesman today concerning the Inspector General’s investigation. Problem is, the current article is behind a paywall, so it’s impossible for nonsubscribers to tell exactly what is going on today.
It’s clear that the IRS has not seen the end of scandal. Not even close.