WHAT: More than 2 million taxpayers wrongly collected $3.2 billion in college tax credits last year, the Treasury Department inspector general reported. This was more than one-fifth of the $15.5 billion in college credits issued to nearly 8.9 million taxpayers through 2010.
HOW: The IRS credited $2.6 billion to 1.7 million taxpayers for students without documents proving they attended school. Another $550 million went to 371,000 taxpayers for students ineligible because they didn’t go to classes long enough.
WHY IT’S OUTRAGEOUS: Credits for $256,000 went to 250 prisoners who were in custody for all of 2009. IRS rules require taxpayers to provide at least half of a claimed dependent’s support — which seems unlikely for most imprisoned offenders.