Economy, Regs, & Taxes

IRS Contempt for Rule of Law

Illegals can steal Social Security numbers, as long as they pay taxes.

Arnold Ahlert · Apr. 18, 2016

In a complete mockery of Rule of Law, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the Senate Finance Committee last week that it’s “in everybody’s interest” to have illegal aliens use fraudulent Social Security numbers to file taxes. Come again?

Koskinen’s outrageous assertion came in response to a question posed by Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), who wondered why “the IRS continues to process tax returns with false W-2 information and issue refunds as if they were routine tax returns.” Coats’ staff also “learned the IRS ignores notifications from the Social Security Administration that a name does not match a Social Security number, and [uses its] own system to determine whether a number is valid.”

Koskinen defended the procedure, beginning with the absurd assertion that it’s not the IRS’s job to ascertain such validity. “What happens in these situations is someone is using a Social Security number to get a job, but they’re filing their tax return with their [taxpayer identification number].” Koskinen further explained the agency sometimes knows such individuals “are undocumented aliens,” but they’re nonetheless paying taxes, and it’s in “everybody’s interest to have them pay the taxes they owe.”

Unbelievably, Koskinen kept digging. “The question is whether the Social Security numbers have been stolen. In many cases, they have been borrowed from friends or acquaintances with permission,” Koskinen said. “It’s not the normal identity-theft situation.” He went on to insist the agency is attempting to determine the difference between “bad” misuse of personal data and other misuse of it “without necessarily having people decide not to file their taxes.” He concluded, “Obviously, the priority is to have the IRS collecting those taxes.”

In other words, as long as the money is coming in, the ends justify the means.

Except that it’s not just coming in. As Coates noted, the IRS is also issuing refunds. What he didn’t say is billions of dollars in refunds have been going to millions of illegals. In a bombshell report published in 2013 by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), author David North revealed the Treasury sent a whopping $4.2 billion to illegals using the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) as its vehicle for doing so.

Congress was initially to blame for this debacle because it failed to mandate that ACTC benefits, like Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), only be granted to people with valid Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Instead, as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, Congress determined that no federal “grant or benefit” could be given to illegals — even as they failed to define the terms. Subsequently, the decision as to what those terms meant became one for the executive branch of government to make.

The IRS made the determination.

It gets worse. 1996 was the same year the U.S. Treasury introduced the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), a nine-digit tax-processing number assigned by the IRS to individuals who are obligated to file a federal tax return, but who lack, or are ineligible, for a SSN typically required to file taxes. ITIN numbers can only be issued to those who submit a Form W-7, along with documents that establish both the identity and the foreign status of the individual. Prior to their validation, an IRS fraud unit in Austin, Texas, is supposed to examine them. Yet the IRS farmed the work out to other units with far less vigorous standards that became even less rigorous when an applicant decided to obtain ITINs for his children, nieces and nephews.

Bob Segall, a senior investigative reporter for WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, exposed the scam beginning in 2012. In one instance, he tracked down a single illegal alien living at a southern Indiana home used by four more illegals who didn’t live there. Those workers claimed 20 children as dependents — and the IRS sent them checks totaling $29,608.

The IRS instituted some reforms to cut down on the abuse, but as Koskinen makes abundantly clear, his agency still maintains a rather tenuous relationship with Rule of Law. In fact last month, the IRS defended its decision to allow illegal aliens to claim as many as three years of refunds on income — even if they never paid income taxes. Koskinen explained in a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) the agency’s chief lawyer reached that conclusion in 2000, and Koskinen was merely reaffirming it. Grassley has promised to write a bill specifically prohibiting the procedure, because the tax code “shouldn’t reward those who broke our immigration laws.”

Part of the IRS’s machinations are linked to Barack Obama’s attempt to reward as many as four million illegals with amnesty, and provide them with tentative legal status that includes issuing Social Security numbers.

SSNs that can then be used to get tax refunds.

Koskinen was never asked to explain why his agency would abide the use of fraudulent SSNs, despite a massive hack of its system in 2015. One it slow-walked to the public, initially admitting that more than 100,000 taxpayer accounts had been compromised, before raising the total 334,000 last August, and again adding another 390,000 accounts to the total in February, boosting the final number of compromised accounts to more than 700,000.

This combination of incompetence and deviousness goes a long way toward explaining why last Thursday Judge David B. Sentelle of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals castigated the IRS for its treatment of conservative groups, noting that he and his colleagues are still trying to determine whether these groups are being targeted for illegal scrutiny. He was equally skeptical regarding the IRS’s insistence that it had instituted credible reforms, stating, “It’s hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust.”

IRS officials acknowledged their errors, but insisted the problem arose from bad training and confusion regarding a 2010 Supreme Court decision.

Doubtless the decision to which they referred was the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which SCOTUS determined that political spending amounts to protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections, as long as that money is not given directly to campaigns.

That decision remains utterly anathema to the American Left, evidenced by an email written by disgraced IRS hack Lois Lerner, who called it “by far the worst thing that has ever happened to this country.” Other emails reveal the former Tax Exempt Organizations director was in contact with the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding whether it was possible to criminally prosecute tax-exempt groups she believed had “lied” about their political activity.

That would be the same very same DOJ that ended its investigation of the agency in October of 2015, without bringing any criminal charges against Lerner or anyone else. Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik ultimately asserted that “poor management is not a crime.”

Really? According to Koskinen, IRS “management” now abides the use of fraud. The very same fraud they would hammer any American taxpayer for engaging in. Congress has threatened to impeach Koskinen. Maybe it’s time they got around to actually doing it.

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