WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service paid out more than $110 billion in tax credits over the past decade to people who didn’t qualify for them, according to a Treasury report released Tuesday.
The Earned Income Tax Credits were intended for poor working families. In his report, IRS inspector general J. Russell George said more than one-fifth of all credits paid under the program went to people who didn’t qualify.
“The IRS should be commended for implementing numerous processes to educate Americans and identify and prevent improper EITC payments,” George said in a statement. “Unfortunately, it is still distributing more than $11 billion in improper EITC payments each year and that is disturbing.”
“The IRS must do a better job of reining in improper payments in this and in other programs,” George added.
IRS efforts are hampered by unscrupulous tax preparers as well as honest families that have trouble figuring out how to calculate the complicated credit, the report said.
“The IRS appreciates the inspector general’s acknowledgement of all our work to implement processes that identify and prevent improper EITC payments,” the IRS said in a statement. “Every year, the IRS conducts 500,000 EITC audits as part of a broader enforcement strategy, and EITC claims are twice as likely to be audited as other tax returns.”
The agency said it prevents “nearly $4 billion in improper claims each year and is committed to continuing to work to reduce improper claims.”
The EITC is one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs. In 2011, more than 27 million families received nearly $62 billion in credits.
The credit is attractive because, if it is larger than your total income tax bill, the IRS will pay you the difference. This is especially helpful to low-income families because many pay little or no federal income tax.
It also makes the credit more susceptible to fraud.
“Refundable tax credits are a nightmare to administer and lead to far too much of the American people’s money going out to those who aren’t eligible,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. “That the IRS can’t figure out how to rein in the improper Earned Income Tax Credit payments doesn’t bode well for the $1.1 trillion in ObamaCare subsidies.”
Using IRS statistics, the inspector general’s report provides an estimated range of improper EITC payments from 2003 through 2012. The report says the IRS paid out at least $110.8 billion in improper payments during the period, and perhaps as much as $132.6 billion.
The IRS says it is impossible to know the exact amount of improper EITC payments without auditing all 27 million taxpayers who received them, which isn’t feasible.
The amount of improper payments ballooned during the recent economic slump, hitting at least $15.3 billion in 2010, the report said. For 2012, the improper payments totaled between $11.6 billion and $13.6 billion.
Families earn the credits by working and earning money, though there are income limits. The size of the credit depends on your income and the number of children you have.
This year, a married couple with three or more children can earn up to $51,567 and still qualify for the credit. A married couple with two children can earn up to $48,378 and still qualify, according to the IRS.
The maximum credit this year is $6,044 for families with three or more children. The maximum credit for families with two children is $5,372.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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