Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) is an extremely serious problem. Department of Justice Tax Division Directive 144, effective October 1, 2012, allows federal prosecutors to designate a point of contact to handle SIRF cases by opening grand jury investigations, charging criminals who engage in SIRF crimes, and obtaining seizure warrants for forfeiture of the proceeds of SIRF crimes, all without having to obtain prior Tax Division authorization.
Justice Department Directive Means Rapid Response to Stolen Identity Tax Fraud
SIRF crimes involve filing or attempting to file fraudulent tax refund claims by using Social Security numbers or other personal identification that has been stolen or otherwise used unlawfully. Tax Division Directive 144 is intended to coordinate and streamline law enforcement efforts to combat stolen identity tax fraud.
The Tax Division will maintain its supervision over criminal proceedings in these cases, as it does over nearly all criminal proceedings to enforce the internal revenue laws. To support the coordinated, rapid enforcement efforts to fight SIRF crimes, the Tax Division has also announced an expedited review process for criminal cases brought pursuant to Directive 144.
If the Internal Revenue Service is able to obtain information quickly enough through SIRF investigations, fraudulent tax refund claims may be intercepted before undeserved refunds are sent to imposters. Directive 144 is intended to facilitate such rapid response.
Whistleblowers Also Can Help Speed Tax Fraud Response
Whistleblowers play a critical role in identifying and stopping tax fraud. To recognize and reward their participation, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 authorizes the IRS Whistleblower Office to provide whistleblowers with financial awards under some circumstances, ranging from 15 to 30 percent of the total recovery.
Whistleblowers who know of tax fraud can help protect all taxpayers by coming forward with that information. Find out more about your legal rights as a whistleblower under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act by speaking to a whistleblower attorney at Waters & Kraus. Contact us or call our attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.