IRS head apologizes to ID theft victims

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 @ 9:00PM

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Victims of identity theft who say they received shabby treatment from the IRS got a personal and public apology from the agency’s commissioner on Capitol Hill Thursday as lawmakers explored ways to tighten the agency’s internal controls to reduce the number of refunds it sends out to scammers.

In addition to testimony from Douglas Shulman, the IRS chief, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Organization heard from three victims of identity theft of a very specific kind. Scammers had stolen enough personal information to file phony tax returns in their names and get refunds.

When the real taxpayers tried to file, the IRS told them their returns were duplicates. That led to, in at least one case, more than a year of waiting and hassle before they got the refunds they were due.

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