Inside WRAL

Before the story airs: WRAL investigates illegal immigrant tax fraud

Posted May 1, 2013

Cullen Browder

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:


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  • joeb9113 May 3, 2013

    Until we overhaul our tax laws, it's going to be a losing battle. Time for a flat tax, might lose thousands of IRS jobs, I'm not so sure that would be a bad thing as they are being paid to do nothing now.

    This sort of sums it up............

    I just received my tax return for 2012 back from the IRS. It puzzles me!!!
    They are questioning how many dependents I claimed.
    I guess it was because of my response to the question: "List all dependents"

    I replied: 12 million illegal immigrants, 42 million unemployed people on food stamps, 2 million people in over 243 prisons and 535 persons in the U.S. House and Senate."

    They said this was NOT an acceptable answer.


  • ameri-can not mexi-cant May 2, 2013

    certain co. in youngsville has nothing but illeagals.they all claim 9 and never file returns cause that would cause a paper trail for their bogus s.s. numbers they dont e-verify either .the owners laugh about it.

  • ritablueboys1 May 2, 2013

    These people should be locked up and the people who knowingly do this should be pulling hard time and paying whatever amount they stole from our government.

  • dsdaughtry May 2, 2013

    it will be worse this tax season. The recent sequester has already nixed many audits by the IRS.

  • mikelisanke May 1, 2013

    Please investigate the important question: Why the IRS won't find illegals applicants using Tax Numbers for Guest Workers which No Employer has registered? DHS has stringent standards for legal employer forms which apparently don't apply to these Tax Numbers. And, the IRS when questioned said something to the affect, "We don't enforce immigration laws". Thanks for any updates on the $100B problem, Mike

  • yankee1 May 1, 2013

    No, can't be. They just come here to work. Ask the usual suspects here. According to them illegals can't get things like food stamps and welfare. Nice to be well informed isn't it?

  • SaveEnergyMan May 1, 2013

    Excellent story idea. Hope you and other media outlets will be able to embarass Congress into doing something.

  • Terkel May 1, 2013

    I'll be doing my volunteer stint at 6 pm and can't watch, but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

    I know we posters rag on you a lot, but you do terrific investigative pieces, no question about it!

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