IRS head: Not our job to go after illegal immigrants

IRS head: Not our job to go after illegal immigrants
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It is not within the Internal Revenue Service’s jurisdiction to go after illegal immigrants who use others’ Social Security numbers just to get jobs, the agency’s commissioner, John Koskinen, said Wednesday.

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“Our responsibility is to make sure they pay their taxes,” Koskinen said at a House Small Business Committee hearing. “We have Social Security and immigration authorities and others who enforce that part of the law, and if we start looking behind the system and doing their job for them, we’re going discourage a lot of people from paying the taxes they owe.”

Koskinen’s comments come after remarks he made about undocumented workers using others’ SSNs at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday.

Koskinen said then that when people fraudulently use Social Security numbers to gain employment and then file taxes using their IRS-issued individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITIN), it’s in everyone’s best interest for the taxes to be paid. He said that oftentimes the Social Security numbers are borrowed from friends with permission, and the IRS is looking into a way it can notify people whose numbers were used fraudulently.

At the Small Business Committee hearing, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), followed up on Koskinen’s previous comments.

“If folks are here illegally, I get that you want to collect tax revenues, and I applaud that aspect, but should any agency go along with what it knows to be illegal activity?” Brat asked.

“Our responsibility is the administration of the tax code,” Koskinen said. He added that not everyone that files taxes with an ITIN is in the U.S. illegally.

The IRS will look into people who use fraudulent Social Security numbers to get jobs and also to file their taxes, Koskinen said.