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Hundreds of Prisoners Registered as Income Tax Preparers, Audit Finds

Posted Jan 3, 2012 10:55 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Internal Revenue Service is planning to suspend tax identification numbers issued to hundreds of inmates.

An audit found 331 inmates got active or provisional tax preparer identification numbers between September 2010 and July 2011, the Gannett News Service reports. They included 43 inmates serving life sentences, none of whom disclosed their felony convictions.

In all, 962 applicants were in prison or incarcerated within the last 10 years when they got their tax preparer IDs, according to the report (PDF) by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

An IRS report to Congress found that the IRS issued $39.1 million in unmerited federal tax returns to jail and prison inmates, according to Gannett. "Prisoner registration as tax preparers is a new twist in a long history of tax scams involving inmates," the story says.

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