Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "taxes" ...

  • How Much are you Overpaying in Property Tax?

    In 2016, an apartment building in Athens County took out a loan for $48.3 million. Yet it was paying property tax as if it were valued at $13.8 million, a whopping $35 million difference. When the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported on this in 2018, it got us thinking: there's a lot of great data out there that we could put together to see how much this actually costs our readers.
  • VPR: Watch Your Speed

    Law enforcement in Vermont issued more than 24,000 tickets worth upwards of $4 million in fines to drivers in 2017. A quarter were issued in three small towns. This investigation revealed how one county sheriff has profited from his traffic contracts with two of the towns. It also showed how issuing traffic tickets allowed another town to maintain an unusually low tax rate.
  • CBS News: New Tax Scam Tricks

    When tax preparer Annette Kraft in Duncan, Oklahoma, checked the status of her clients' tax returns in January, she was surprised to find all of them had been rejected."The code was 902-01," she said. "That means someone else has already filed a tax return." It turns out her clients were victims of a new tax scam intended to cheat them out of their refunds, and her town was ground zero in the scam. The criminals get their hands on returns from previous years, then use that information to file new fraudulent returns on unsuspecting victims. After the refund goes into the victim's bank account, the crooks, posing as debt collectors for the IRS, follow up with a phone call claiming the refund was an error, then directing them to a fraudulent website to return the money. "I had about $9,015 more than I anticipated," said Duncan police officer David Woods. He discovered that supposed refund one day as he checked his bank balance, but it didn't make sense because he hadn't filed his taxes yet. "I didn't get my W-2 to file my taxes," Woods said. He returned the money to the government, but now the IRS says his real refund will be delayed, possibly for months. He's not alone. At the local tire shop, 49-year-old Jerry Duvall told us his $5,800 return is more than two months late. "We planned on taking care of expenses, getting caught up on bills and we counted on it," Duvall said. He missed a $200 car payment, and on the very day we spoke with him, he told us his car was getting repossessed.At least 230 of Kraft's clients have been hit and face months of delays. Taxpayers like 91-year-old Ray Prothro found out about the scam from the IRS while we were there.
  • Trump Taxes

    Shattering Trump’s myth of self-made billionaire, an exhaustive inquiry showed how his father’s real estate fed him $413 million, relying on dubious tax dodges.
  • Many Unhappy Returns: Georgia recoups up to $6.4M after WSB-TV tax fraud investigation

    In what’s turned out to be the largest tax fraud case of its kind in state history, Georgia is beginning to recoup $6.4 million from taxpayers who submitted returns with inflated refunds, based on the schemes of a longtime tax preparer who also happens to be a local elected official. The state investigation was launched after WSB-TV dug into that official's past and uncovered a trail of civil fraud judgments, tax liens, taxpayer complaints and investment schemes. She had escaped any real consequences, until now.
  • Shrinking Shores

    The Naples Daily News explored the state of Florida’s beaches, and how little the state invests in this important asset at a time when development is allowed at a rapid pace. The project found the lack of investment has resulted in much of the state’s coastline receding and local governments are burdened with managing erosion. Even though beaches generate billions annually for the state in tourism-related sales taxes, Florida's lawmakers and governors typically return less than $1 to the shore each year for every $100 they take. Part 1: http://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/special-reports/2016/11/11/shrinking-shores-how-florida-leaders-failing-states-famous-beaches/92052156/
  • Visiting Judges Costs

    There are no limits on time off for elected officials, including county judges. When a judge is absent and has hearings scheduled, then a visiting judge is paid to fill-in. The money a visiting judge earns is paid out of tax dollars. One county judge has been absent over a month for three years.
  • Profiting from Thrift

    “Profiting from Thrift” by Francesca Lyman is an investigation into how the privately held Savers chain of thrift stores, with hundreds of stores in 30 states, plus Canada and Australia, has profited from a charitable veneer, misleading consumers, drawing the ire of regulators, and even drawing revenue away from public tax coffers. For years the company has been the single largest player in the prosperous and growing industry of for-profit thrift stores, doing $1.2 billion in business annually, but InvestigateWest reporting found its claims about doing good for charities appear to be vastly overblown. http://invw.org/2015/10/28/map-savers-has-stores-in-29-states-across-the-u-s/
  • Detroit's Foreclosure Meltdown

    This series investigated the impact of a decade of mortgage foreclosures on Detroit neighborhoods by tracking the fate of nearly 65,000 bank foreclosed homes. We found that subprime lending and bargain-basement sales of these homes contributed to a $500 million loss for the city in unpaid property taxes and demolition costs. http://www.detroitnews.com/topic/046a3a7c-ed6d-4afb-876a-d7800dd4a513/detroits-foreclosure-meltdown/
  • Michael LaForgia

    This report was the first interview with Swiss bank whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld since the banker had been released from federal prison and awarded $104 million for his role in revealing how thousands of Americans evaded taxes with secret Swiss bank accounts. Birkenfeld had been released years earlier, but had not spoken publicly about his massive new wealth. In our interview, the Boston-born banker gave a tour of his new luxury box at the Boston Garden, showed off his new Porsche, railed against the US Department of Justice, and alleged that unnamed American political figures had secret bank accounts in Switzerland. http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375411 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375414 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375403 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375407 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375435 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375431