IRS-Bureau of Prisons agreement aims at inmate tax fraud

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IRS-Bureau of Prisons agreement aims at inmate tax fraud

The Plain Dealer – ALBANY, N.Y. — A new agreement aims to stop federal prisoners from filing for and collecting millions of dollars in bogus tax refunds from their cells.

Pressure from U.S. senators, including Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, in January led to an agreement signed Wednesday between the Internal Revenue Service and the federal Bureau of Prisons to break down bureaucratic and regulatory barriers to end the practice. The memorandum of understanding struck between the two agencies overcomes legal obstacles that hindered their own efforts and paves the way for states to make similar agreements that apply to their prisons.

Brown said the case shows "government agencies need to work together to prevent tax fraud wherever it occurs, but especially when we're being bilked from behind bars."

Roughly half of the 1,500 fraudulent inmate tax returns in 2009 came from a single prison, the London Correctional Institution in central Ohio.

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