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Legislative Audit Finds State Tax Collector Still Lax on Bogus SS Numbers

of the state comptroller's Revenue Administration Division found much improvement over the last one, completed in late 2006. But the state tax collector is still curiously unable to detect bogus Social Security numbers, which often mean fraudulent filers getting big refunds.

The last audit noted the problem, and in a 2007

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City Paper

interview, Thaddeus S. Russell, the deputy director of the Revenue Administration Division,

:

The latest audit acknowledges the improvements since then but says they're "not comprehensive" and so still allow people to collect thousands of dollars in tax refunds for dependents whose SS numbers are either bogus or missing. Using methodology similar to its last audit, the legislative auditors

It is unclear why the comptroller doesn't run the same kinds of tests the auditors do. These kinds of returns aren't hard to find. As one storefront tax preparer

to

City Paper

in 2008:

The legislative audit also found "taxpayers who claimed the earned income credits on their State tax returns, even though they were not eligible to do so, since they had not claimed the earned income credits on their corresponding federal tax returns [This is a repeated finding]. We also found that certain procedures in place for verifying significant tax refunds were not being uniformly applied.

Deputy Comptroller Linda Tanton promised to do better. Her letter thanking the auditors was CC'd to Comptroller Peter Franchot.

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