Billions of dollars in fraud – it gets your attention. When it applies to taxpayer money, it makes you mad.
A WRAL Investigation last fall found various Government Accountability Office audits warning about abuse of the child tax credit. Tax filers, many illegal immigrants, saw an opening for cash.
According to the GAO, filers claimed dependent children who either didn’t exist or lived in other countries. Each of those filers received thousands back from the U.S. government. While the law states that those children must live with the filers, the IRS wasn’t really keeping track.
The potential for fraud infuriated lawmakers like Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Renee Ellmers. As a result of all the criticism, the IRS tightened the rules for tax preparers and filers to provide more proof of dependents and their residences.
Then, months later, we were contacted by a tax preparer who caters to Latino clients. He told us he followed the law, yet he was losing clients to preparers willing to bend the rules.
The WRAL Investigates team decided to go undercover to find out how other preparers handled the tougher IRS rules. We think our viewers will be both encouraged and frustrated by what we found.
The story airs Thursday at 6 p.m. Watch a preview: