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As I See It

Ripe with fraud, employee retention tax credit needs to be shut down



When the pandemic hit, a federal relief program was a lifeline for many businesses. The employee retention tax credit allowed businesses to apply for federal reimbursement for keeping workers on the payroll. It worked. But it also led to what may be the biggest fraud in U.S. history. The IRS Commissioner admitted, in a meeting with Senators, that as much as 95% of the claims being made by businesses for a COVID-19 pandemic tax break were fraudulent. Ninety-five percent. The program, designed to help businesses stay open and the economy remain strong, was estimated to cost $55 billion. The costs have ballooned to more than five times that amount, and new claims are pouring in each day. The program was set to expire, but Congress has extended it three times. It seems the fraud is nearly universal, and that there was little oversight. Basically, those businesses that applied got money from the federal government, even when they didn’t deserve it. One New Jersey tax preparer was arrested after fraudulently seeking $124 million from the IRS when he filed people’s returns. This should be something both political parties can agree on. Shut down this tax credit now, before they waste even more of our money.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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  1. The Dude

    January 31, 2024 at 11:14 am

    Oh my goodness, when our government try’s to do the right thing for peoples without oversight, things seam to run amuck.

    Here in Wisconsin it is reported that we incurred $39.3 million in fraudulent Covid 19 Paycheck Protection Program and UI pandemic benefit overpayments and has only recovered 11% of the amount, or $4.3 million.

    So many of the good programs go bad. I think our good will social programs here in Lacrosse sure have some ups and downs also. We try and do the right thing for the un-sheltered by paying for motels and they destroy and trash the rooms. We tried again with Houska park and they destroyed that.

    Another good example of needing fiscal oversight was back in 2022 when the $194.7 school referendum was being pushed as needed. We now see the enrollment is down and we are closing and consolidating schools.

    The key take away that I see is spend or allocate monies in a manner that you would do with your personal finances.

  2. nick

    January 31, 2024 at 11:15 am

    What would you expect but fraud. Does not matter who is President.
    This is the norm. Expect two things in government programs: fraud and cost us way more than predicted.
    Hunt the perpetrators down, convict them and the maximum sentence.

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