IRS gave out $5.6 billion in bogus education tax credits
The Obama stimulus bill – the $900-billion payoff to his campaign supporters in 2009 – is the gift that keeps on giving...at least, to crooks, fraudsters, and charlatans.
The IRS inspector general issued a blistering report on how $5.6 billion of the education tax credit, funded by the stim bill, has been wasted.
A whopping 3.8 million students were allowed to claim about $5.6 billion in tax credits that, in hindsight, appear to have been questionable or outright fraudulent, the report found. That’s hardly a small figure, as $5.6 billion amounts to more than 25 percent of all education credits given out by the government, an extraordinarily high level of inefficiency and waste. Not only that, but the IRS still hasn’t found an effective way to stop more faulty credits from being claimed in the future.
“The IRS still does not have effective processes to identify erroneous claims for education credits,” says the report. “Although the IRS has taken steps to help address some of our recommendations, many of the deficiencies [the inspector general] previously identified still exist. As a result, taxpayers continue to receive billions of dollars in potentially erroneous education credits.”
Specifically, the report finds that about $3.2 billion in credits was granted to about 2 million taxpayers who didn’t file the proper form to claim it, and about $2.5 billion in credits was given to students who were attending academic institutions that do not qualify for them. Another $650 million was lost to about 400,000 taxpayers for claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit for more than its maximum of four years.
The report doesn’t just fault the IRS, but also Congress, which it says should grant the IRS more authority to use government databases to check student’s claims. The report also urges the government to increase IRS funding so that it can hire more personnel. The agency has lost several thousand employees since 2010, and the report argues that this has led to a manpower shortage and an inability to audit every questionable tax credit claim.
If it's this bad with education tax credits, what do you think the IRS error rate is for Obamacare subsidies – especially since people are on the "honor system" when it comes to their eligibility? Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, WIC – all of these and more government programs at one time or another have been cited for massive waste and fraud.
The federal budget is a candy store for criminals. And the taxpayer is left holding the bag.