Tax-related identity theft is a growing national problem. The perpetrators of this crime collect millions by filing false claims for tax refunds using the Social Security Numbers of honest, hard-working taxpayers.
To illustrate the nature and cost of this criminal activity, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) recently highlighted the conviction of a Milwaukee woman for her role in a scheme where 2,000 fraudulent state tax claims were filed between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012. The scheme attempted to get a total of $960,175 in tax refunds. While the fraud detection and prevention efforts by DOR blocked most of these false claims, these thieves still pocketed nearly $250,000.
DOR uses sophisticated analytics to identify tax returns that indicate possible identity theft. If this happens, the Department will send a letter to the taxpayer asking them to complete a quiz, enter a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN), or submit documentation to confirm their identity.
If you are interested in learning more about the Department’s ID Verification Program or have reason to believe that you have been a victim of tax identity theft, click here.
Governor Signs Worker’s Compensation Legislation into Law
On Monday, Governor Walker gave final approval to an omnibus package of amendments to the state’s Worker’s Compensation law. A plain language summary of the new law – 2015 Wisconsin Act 180 – has been provided by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD).
We lobbied in support of this new law because it contains five amendments that we believe will help to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in the program. Under the new law, the following changes went into effect on March 2, 2016:
a) There shall be no recovery of indemnity or death benefits when an employee violates the employer’s drug and/or alcohol policy and where there is a direct causation between violation of the drug and/or alcohol policy and the workplace injury;
b) Temporary disability will be denied when an employee is released to light duty work and is suspended or terminated due to misconduct or substantial fault as defined under the state’s Unemployment Insurance law;
c) Apportionment of permanent disability resulting from accidental injuries will be based on causation. A health care provider who prepares a report on permanent disability shall address the issue of causation of the permanent disability that includes a determination of the percentage of permanent disability caused by the direct result of the
work-related injury and the percentage attributable to other factors before and after the injury;
d) The statute of limitations for traumatic injuries will be reduced from 12 years to 6 years; and
e) DWD shall fund one Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) position to investigate and prosecute fraud committed by employees, employers, insurance carriers and providers.
This is in additional to current law which authorizes local district attorneys to investigate and prosecute Worker’s Compensation fraud.
State Supreme Court Candidates Agree to Two Debates
On Tuesday, April 5, Wisconsin voters will elect a new member to a ten-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The nominees are newly-appointed Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley and Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, who currently serves as the Presiding Judge on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals – District 4.
The candidates have agreed to two debates before the election. The first will be a WISN-TV debate scheduled for Tuesday, March 15 at Marquette University in Milwaukee. The second debate, co-hosted by Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is scheduled for Friday, March 18 in Madison.
We encourage members to tune in to these broadcast debates.
We sincerely hope you find this e-publication to be a valuable member service. Let us know what you think and how we can make it better by contacting the editor, Brian Dake, at email@example.com.
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