WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Internal Revenue Service reports it has launched more than 200 new investigations this tax season into identity theft and refund fraud schemes.
Just days before the April 15, 2014 tax deadline, the IRS said it has started 295 identity theft investigations that push the total number of active cases to more than 1,800.
"Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
According to the IRS, criminal investigations this year have led to 221 indictments.
In a separate report issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS "continues to expand identity theft filter to identify fraudulent tax returns."
According to the March 28, 2014 report, the IRS "has identified and confirmed 28,076 fraudulent tax returns involving identity theft."
The report goes on to say the IRS has also identified 57,316 fraudulent returns with $385 million claimed in fraudulent refunds.
It has prevented the issuance of $336 million, or 87.3 percent, of the fraudulent refunds it identified, according the report.
A 5 On Your Side Investigation has revealed that prison inmates are filing false tax returns, conning taxpayers out of $3.7 billion since 2005 in fraudulent refunds. Thursday at 6 p.m., Ron will delve deeper into this issue in a special report.