New legislation aimed at cracking down on tax fraud - WFLA News Channel 8

New legislation aimed at cracking down on tax fraud

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Rep.  Kathy Castor and Chief Jane Castor hold a joint press conference on proposed tax fraud legislation. Rep. Kathy Castor and Chief Jane Castor hold a joint press conference on proposed tax fraud legislation.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor says law enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service are doing a better job cracking down on tax fraud.

But she says it's time to turn up the heat.

"Even though arrests and prosecutions are up, the key here is for the IRS to keep this from happening in the first place."

That's why Castor, a Democrat, says she plans to file the first bill of the new congress to continue the fight. Castor says she, along with Rep. Rich Nugent, a Republican, will file that bill this week.

The two lawmakers filed a similar bill last year, but Castor says this one keeps up the pressure on the IRS.

"Even though the IRS has made great progress on what we put in that bill, we've got to codify it," Castor said. "We still have to increase the penalties for these criminals."

The bill proposes increasing id theft penalties to $25,000 for individual filings and $200,000 in the case of filing as a corporation.

It would also restrict the access to Social Security numbers of people who have died.

Castor says this billion-dollar crime used to be easy money for criminals. And although, this crime is nationwide, she says the citizens of Florida have been hit the hardest.

"This is not a wave all across the country, it's a real epidemic in the state of Florida. And it was our own Tampa police department that uncovered what was happening."

Castor was joined by Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor to announce the new bill.

"What we want everyone to know out there is that if you have any intention at all of identity theft or filing fraudulent tax returns, we will be after you," Castor said.

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