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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is exploring how it can stop illegal immigrants from using other people’s social security numbers but still be able to file their taxes.
Undocumented workers use IRS-issued individual tax identification numbers to file taxes but may have already used another person’s social security number to obtain a job, The Hill reported.
“It’s in everybody’s interest to have them pay the taxes they owe,” said IRS commissioner John Koskinen at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday.
He noted that many times, the social security numbers have been borrowed with permission. “It’s not the normal identity-theft situation,” he said.
Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., who has been looking into employment-related identity theft, found that the IRS processed taxes with false W-2 information and routinely issued refunds, all the while ignoring notices from the Social Security Administration (SSA) when names and numbers didn’t match, according to the Hill.
While Koskinen said the IRS is examining ways to inform people that their social security numbers were unlawfully used, in some cases the agency needs more authority to do so. Submitting false information results in penalties for employers, but they are not informed by the IRS or the SSA when this is discovered.
Although the IRS uncovered 200,000 new cases of employment-related identity theft last year, Coats said, the agency is prohibited from notifying the victims.
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