James Taranto’s worst fears seem to have been realized

Taranto, the WSJ reporter who pens “Best of the Web” each day at that paper, worried that the worst possible outcome for the IRS scandal investigation would be if the decision to target and harass conservative groups came not from the administration but from IRS employees themselves: that, Taranto warned, would mean that the entire IRS was corrupt, and fixing it would prove far more difficult than merely lopping off a few heads at the top.

So here’s this report, just out from the Inspector General’s Office: IRS “hindered” efforts to prevent the misuse of Social Security numbers by illegal workers.

An audit report published this month by the inspector general for the Social Security Administration says that the Internal Revenue Service’s reluctance to penalize employers who consistently file W-2s on which the Social Security Number and name do not match has “hindered” the SSA’s efforts to stop “unauthorized noncitizens” from using Social Security Numbers that are fake or belong to someone else.

The audit report looked at “inaccurate wage reporting”—or the filing of W-2 forms on which the name and the Social Security Number do not match. The SSA has long said these no-match W-2s are frequently filed on behalf of illegal aliens. According to the IG audit report released earlier this month, a senior IRS official admitted to the IG that the service knows this is the case.

The IG said that although the IRS had the legal authority to penalize employers who filed large numbers of inaccurate W-2s, the IRS could not tell the IG how many employers it had actually penalized. At the same time, a number of SSA Employer Service Liaison Officers (ESLOs)–who deal with employers through regional SSA offices–told the IG they “were not aware” of the IRS penalizing any employers who had habitually filed inaccurate W-2s. [...]

“SSA senior staff did not believe employers had an incentive to submit accurate annual wage reports because the IRS rarely enforced existing penalties,” said the report. “SSA staff believed applying penalties would deter SSN misuse. Furthermore, SSA senior staff believed the Agency could provide the IRS with sufficient evidence to show an employer knew or should have known its employees’ SSNs were incorrect. For example, a reasonable person should recognize that hundreds of workers could not have the same or consecutively numbered SSNs.”

The fox is in the hen house.

21 Comments

Filed under Right wing nut rantings

21 responses to “James Taranto’s worst fears seem to have been realized

  1. AJ

    This would mean that certain companies had immunity and were free to break the law. This put them at a huge advantage over other companies that were obliged to follow the law, putting the law breakers at a huge advantage and in a position to put the competition out of business or, at the very least, to get more than their fair market share. The question now is who were these companies giving money to, and are there any unusual land deals, such as someone acquiring real estate at well below market value, say for instance, one dollar; or free services rendered?

  2. CatoRenasci

    Abolish the IRS. Repeal the 16th Amendment. Permanently bar all former IRS employees from any government employment or benefit, or any job lobbying. Give them the net amounts they contributed to Social Security while government employees, plus, say, 5% interest. It’s simply not – and cannot be – honest work.

    • jetty

      I agree. Unfortunately, the federal government has become one big mob, and they look after their own.

    • Rob Crawford

      I disagree. IRS employees should be exiled and forbidden re-entry into the US.

      They seem to favor foreigners over US citizens, after all.

      • thinkingdownstream

        Rob, I agree. Further, as our politicians are working on the biggest “bipartisan” legislation since Obama was first elected that elevates the interests of tens of millions of citizens of foreign nations above the interests of American citizens, it would be reinvigorating for the nation if we included nearly every member of Congress and the Executive branch as well in that exile.

  3. kevino

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the GOP grew a spine and started an investigation? We need a special prosecutor — right now. The people responsible need to be found and put in jail forever.

  4. carl

    At the time that the 1986 illegal aliens amnesty law was passed two additional provisions were included: One made it illegal for an employer to knowingly hire an illegal alien. The other, intended to prevent discrimination, restricted what an employer could ask for or notice while determining if an employee was here legally. I suspect that an employer who took note of employees using the same or consecutive SSNs would find himself on the wrong side of the law.

  5. teapartydoc

    Time for the Fair Tax and an end to the IRS.

  6. Zeva_Diva

    The government and its agencies cannot be impacted by any political action of the People.
    Government and politicians now operate for the benefit of themselves.
    The money trough is set on automatic…they don’t have to do anything to keep feeding or screwing the People.
    We are now Subjects of government.
    The only way to change this is by open revolt.
    It’s time to band together and plan the destruction of the all-powerful state.
    III

  7. Me

    Meanwhile, the government happily collects 12% of all payrolls that they know they will never have to pay back out to anybody, don’t they.

  8. Some guy

    I’ve known this for awhile. I knew a guy who did work in Mexico for awhile (for an American company). Three or four years later he was contacted by the IRS for taxes he owed on the previous year’s filing. At least three other people were using his social during the intervening years all over the country. The IRS didn’t care until the amounts he and his identity thieves were contributing cumulatively went into the red. Then they contacted him immediately. He was pissed because he knew they could have stopped it years ago, but were all too happy to get the money from the illegals using his SSN. See, this is a dirty little secret of the IRS. When someone is illegal, they don’t want to trigger any problems so they’ll withhold at the top rate and never file a return. The IRS knows this and wants the cash.

  9. Sammy

    Yes, radical leftists have thoroughly infiltrated the entire bureaucracy, including the IRS. Next revelation?

  10. ed

    end all this idiocy now. enact a fair and workable immigration law that meets the economic needs of the USA, not the social needs of immigrants or the political needs of special interests in this country.

  11. JAL

    There has to be some felony activity here re accessory to identity theft. Someone needs to start suing.

    People need to be tried and go to prison.

    As above: Congress — Get a spine and clean up this mess.

  12. Just to be clear. It is very unlikely that James Taranto (or any other 21st-century journalist) writes with a pen. He doesn’t pen “Best of the Web.” He writes it. Down with the doctrine of elegant variation! Up with exactness of language!

    • And just to be clear, the use of pen as a verb long predates the invention of the typewriter or keyboard and if, in fact, it became a retronym after either of those devices entered the world, there’s still no particular reason to quit using it now.