The IRS has paid $132 billion in improper payments and fraudulent tax credits since 2003, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
The agency gave at least $11.6 billion in improper payments in 2012 via the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which transfers money to low income working families through the tax system.
CBS News reports:
The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the biggest anti-poverty programs in the U.S. and it's meant for poor working families. But a new report from the Treasury Department's Inspector General finds the IRS routinely pays more than $11 billion dollars a year to people who don't actually qualify.
According to the report, improper payments in the past decade, from 2003 through 2012, totaled up to $132.6 billion dollars, peaking during the 2010 economic crisis at $18.4 billion dollars.
The inspector general found that the problem is likely to continue.
"Despite numerous efforts, the IRS is unlikely to achieve any significant reduction in EITC improper payments," the audit said. "The IRS has implemented numerous processes to educate taxpayers and identify and prevent improper EITC payments."