Indianapolis TV station WTHR is reporting IRS tax examiner Howard Antelis has apparently developed some concerns about the way his esteemed employer handles Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers and, more importantly, what possible abuse and fraud mean for the Service's flawless record.
"I'm horrified and ashamed and embarrassed by what I've seen. It's not supposed to be like this," he told 13 Investigates. "We're supposed to protect taxpayers, so somebody had to say something."
A four-month investigation at the station documented how many illegal immigrants use ITINs for tax credits and refunds they had no business claiming. It is, apparently, really easy to forge documents, be someone else and get the appropriate - if incorrect - refunds. The problem costs American taxpayers billions (yes, with a B) every year according to the TIGTA.
"We were being told by upper management to ignore fraud, to assign ITIN numbers and ... pay out refunds to people who are lying," Howard told the station. "It's a license to steal when you allow that." Howard and five of his tax examiner coworkers at the ITIN processing center in Austin told WTHR IRS managers told him to "look the other way," even when ITIN applications come plastered with obvious signs of fraud.
After years of trying to get his bosses to do something about the obvious fraud crossing their desks, Howard hit up the Inspector General's office in DC... and that's when his problems started.
Within days of ratting out his employer to WTHR, the IRS dinged Howard's performance rating from "exceeds fully successful" to "minimally successful," claiming every aspect of his job performance suffered in the last six months.
"I'm a little nervous, but not really. I guess they could try to fire me, but I don't think they will," he said. "I just want to see things fixed. We've been allowing the U.S. taxpayer to get robbed for years now and those days appear to be over."
Good luck with that, buddy, you'll need it.