The IRS could issue nearly $2.3 billion in fraudulent tax returns to individuals who forge tax identification numbers each year, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
An audit released on Thursday found that the tax agency routinely issues refunds to business accounts with fabricated Employer Identification Numbers (EINs).
“Perpetrators of fraud are using stolen or falsely obtained EINs to submit tax returns with false income and withholding documents to the IRS for the sole purpose of receiving a fraudulent tax refund,” TIGTA said.
The audit identified 285,670 stolen or falsely obtained EINs that were used for 767,071 tax returns in 2011. As a result, a total of $2,273,177,371 in potentially fraudulent refunds were dispensed that year.
“Based on our analysis we estimate that the IRS could issue approximately $11.4 billion in fraudulent refunds over the next five years because of stolen and falsely obtained EINs,” TIGTA said.