Internal Revenue Service: Individual Taxpayer Indentification Numbers Can Be Improperly Obtained and Used

GAO-04-529T Published: Mar 10, 2004. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 2004.
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to those who are not eligible for a social security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). ITIN-related concerns include whether any weaknesses in IRS's controls would allow ITINs to be issued and used for illegal purposes and possible security breaches, whether employers are confused about their responsibilities to IRS, SSA, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for identifying their employees, and how IRS, SSA, and DHS share data when illegal resident aliens receive ITINs. Because of these concerns, GAO was asked to: (1) describe why IRS created the ITIN, (2) describe IRS's processes and controls for issuing ITINs, (3) do a limited test of IRS's processes and controls, and (4) describe certain concerns and problems for employers and government agencies when ITINs are issued to illegal resident aliens.

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