Let me preface this by saying (a) I am glad someone is at least trying to catch the abuses (b) if there is one place I'd increase government spending it is in the auditing field as these sort of abuses run rampant throughout government (c) the amount in this program is a drop in the bucket compared to abuses seen in Medicare/Medicaid and (d) one can only imagine the abuses done with the parallel state tax credits.
The Treasury Inspector General found the typical looting of any government handout - some of the findings; at this point we are so off the deep end in giveaways it is mostly bemusing.
- Despite efforts by the IRS to combat scams, thousands of individuals — including nearly 1,300 prison inmates — have defrauded the government of millions of dollars in home buyer credits, Treasury's inspector general reported Wednesday. The home buyer credit provided a federal tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers for tax year 2008, the subject of the report. The credit, created to revive the housing market, was later extended to repeat home buyers. The latest credit expired with sale contracts signed as of April 30.
- In response to earlier reports of widespread fraud, the IRS tightened reporting requirements for taxpayers who claimed the credit. But additional controls are needed, the inspector general said.
- 1,295 prisoners, including 241 serving life sentences, received $9.1 million in credits, even though they were incarcerated at the time they reported that they purchased their home. These prisoners didn't file joint returns, so their claims could not have been the result of purchases made with or by their spouses, the report said.
- 2,555 taxpayers received $17.6 million in credits for homes purchased before the dates allowed by law.
- 10,282 taxpayers received credits for homes that were also used by other taxpayers to claim the credit. In one case, 67 taxpayers used the same home to claim the credit.
In a related note, shouts of brilliant! could be heard from certain NYC offices of financial oligarchs while Goldman Sachs has sent out job offers to roughly 14,132 Americans; 1,295 of which are indefinite pending release from prison.*