Tax loophole costs billions | 13 WTHR Indianapolis
"Millions of illegal immigrants are getting a bigger tax refund than you. Eyewitness News shows a massive tax loophole that provides billions of dollars in tax credits to undocumented workers and, in many cases, people who have never stepped foot in the United States.
And you are paying for it!
INDIANAPOLIS - Inside his central Indiana office, a longtime tax consultant sits at his desk, shaking his head in disbelief.
"There is not a doubt in my mind there's huge fraud taking place here," he said, slowly flipping through the pages of a tax return.
The tax preparer does not want you to know his name for fear of reprisal, but he does want you to know about a nationwide problem with a huge price tag.
He came to 13 Investigates to blow the whistle.
"We're talking about a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme here that's taking place and no one is talking about it," he said.
The scheme involves illegal immigrants -- illegal immigrants who are filing tax returns.
How it works
The Internal Revenue Service says everyone who is employed in the United States – even those who are working here illegally – must report income and pay taxes.
Of course, undocumented workers are not supposed to have a social security number.
So for them to pay taxes, the IRS created what's called an ITIN, an individual taxpayer identification number.
While that may have seemed like a good idea, it's now backfiring in a big way.
Each spring, at tax preparation offices all across the nation, many illegal immigrants are now eagerly filing tax returns to take advantage of a tax loophole, using their ITIN numbers to get huge refunds from the IRS.
The loophole is called the Additional Child Tax Credit.
It's a fully-refundable credit of up to $1000 per child, and it's meant to help working families who have children living at home.
But TV-13 Investigates has found many undocumented workers are claiming the tax credit for kids who live in Mexico – lots of kids in Mexico.
"We've seen sometimes 10 or 12 dependents, most times nieces and nephews, on these tax forms," the whistleblower told Eyewitness News.
"The more you put on there, the more you get back."
The whistleblower has thousands of examples, and he brought some of them to 13 Investigates. While identifying information such as names and addresses on the tax returns was redacted, it was still clear that the tax filers had received large tax refunds after claiming additional child tax credits for many dependents.
"Here's a return right here: we've got a $10,3000 refund for nine nieces and nephews," he said, pointing to the words "niece" and "nephew" listed on the tax forms nine separate times.
"We're getting an $11,000 refund on this tax return.
There's seven nieces and nephews," he said, pointing to another set of documents.
"I can bring out stacks and stacks. It's just so easy it's ridiculous."...