Legislation aims to crack down on tax return
Senator Bill Nelson (D - FL) has introduced the Identity
Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act of 2013 to Congress.
Sen. Nelson held a hearing in Washington to discuss the
tax refund fraud epidemic Wednesday. Nelson wants to
lengthen jail time for tax-related identity theft
bill also calls on the IRS to return refunds to victims
within 90 days.
the hearing, the senator explained that this type of
fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes.
are losing over $5 billion each year to the crime and
now the problem is getting worse," he said.
Hovatter, of Tampa, understands the urgency. He is a
victim of tax refund fraud and says he wouldn't wish it
on his worst enemy.
spent a whole day over at the IRS building sitting there
waiting just to talk to somebody," Hovatter said.
got Hovatter's Social Security number and filed for his
2011 tax refund before he did. It took almost an entire
year of paperwork, phone calls, and headaches to see a
dime. Hovatter finally got his 2011 refund this past
January. The 60-year-old plumber is still left with a
felt like there was nothing I could say or nothing I
could do," Hovatter said. "I couldn't get
Police Detective Sal Augeri testified at Wednesday's
hearing of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.
Augeri is a vocal crime fighter against the epidemic
that has hit Tampa harder than any other city. But the
detectives says cooperation between the IRS and local
law enforcement in investigating these crimes is better
on the street have told me of the increased police
effort and that it's more difficult to get returns back
from the U.S. government," Augeri told the panel.
Barack Obama's 2014 budget proposal includes measures to
slow down refund fraud, for example, removing Social
Security numbers from W2 forms.
is glad lawmakers are talking about the crime. But after
losing his job to the recession, his home to
foreclosure, then his identity to criminals, he's ready
for more than just talk.
really think somebody needs to step up and take some
action on this," he said.
refund fraud victims are frustrated that every time they
call the IRS, they have to re-explain their situation to
a different IRS employee who has no knowledge of their
case. The bill would require that ID theft victims have
a single point of contact at the IRS, who handles the
case from start to finish.