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Florida leads nation in prisoner tax fraud

Recently, prisoner tax fraud has been getting a fair amount of attention in the media and from government officials. This fraud generally involves prisoners filing fraudulent tax returns in order to receive refunds that they are not entitled to.

Reportedly, the number of instances of this type of tax fraud has been rising throughout the country. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the number of instances of this fraud nationwide more than doubled between 2004 and 2009. The IRS claims that this type of fraud resulted in prisoners wrongfully receiving $39 million in refund checks in 2009.

Florida prisons in particular have come under the spotlight in connection to this kind of fraud. According to an article by the Sun Sentinel, Florida has the highest occurrence of prisoner tax fraud in the nation. The IRS claims that over 8,000 fraudulent tax refund claims were filed by prisoners in Florida in 2009.

What impacts could reports like these have on tax fraud enforcement in Florida? Sometimes, when reports come out saying that a particular type of crime is becoming more prevalent, it can lead to government agencies increasing their enforcement efforts regarding the crime in question and developing new tools and methods for this enforcement.

Thus, the recent reports that prisoner tax fraud is becoming more common in the nation in general and in Florida in particular could result in federal and state authorities becoming aggressive in their investigations and prosecutions of individuals who are suspected of committing this type of tax fraud in Florida.

This could mean that more individuals will face charges in connection to allegations of prisoner tax fraud in Florida. This could have a major impact on these individuals, as being convicted of tax fraud can have serious consequences.

Source: The Sun Sentinel, "Florida inmates are No. 1 in filing fraudulent tax returns from prison," Sally Kestin, 19 March 2011

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