The House Judiciary Committee’s Crime Subcommittee held a hearing Thursday on the growing problem of identity theft and income tax preparation fraud.

“The number of these thefts has increased by approximately 300 percent every year since 2008,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas. “The Internal Revenue Service detected almost 1 million fake returns among the 2010 returns alone. Tax thieves victimize innocent taxpayers in a number of ways. They often file fake returns under a false name or claim someone who is no longer alive as a dependent on their own forms.  Often, the fraud is not detected until an individual files a legitimate tax return that is rejected by the IRS because a false return has already been filed and the refund paid. Tax return identity theft is a very real problem. Congress should do all it can to protect citizens from this crime.”

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