Ready to have your blood boil? The only thing that might possibly be more maddening is Charlie Rangel’s tax evasion antics since he, after all, was actually responsible for writing tax law. After that, this comes in as a close second:
More than 100 employees of the Internal Revenue Service cheated the government by fraudulently claiming a first-time homebuyer tax credit included in the 2008 and 2009 economic stimulus packages, according to federal investigators.
The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, in several reports over the past few years, has identified a total of 128 IRSemployees who claimed the credit but who also made other claims that showed they either weren’t first-time buyer.
Meanwhile, one other IRS employee has been charged with using her position to try to help friends and relatives take advantage of the credit, which was signed by President Bush and then boosted under President Obama’s 2009 stimulus law.
Just how easy was it to pull the wool over the government’s eyes? At least, in the beginning, very easy:
Early on, the IRS didn’t even require those claiming the credit to submit documents proving their eligibility before they were granted the credit, and Congress didn’t give the agency the tools to track fraud.
How outrageously stupid and irresponsible with taxpayer money can Congress be? No documented proof required? No tracking? Sounds eerily like all of those no proof of income loans that were being handed out during the housing boom.
But hey, it’s only taxpayer money, right? If the government can’t get the $513 million in payouts back, they can always push for more taxes, and the IRS will be right there making sure you pay what you’re required to pay.