Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Politics

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor prepares bill to combat tax fraud

TAMPA — U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's first bill for the 113th Congress is aimed at tax fraud.

Announcing her plans Monday alongside Tampa police and identity fraud investigators, the Tampa-based Democrat vowed to push the Internal Revenue Service to put more safeguards in place to stop thieves from using others' personal information to file fake returns.

Her bill also would increase the fines for those caught committing tax fraud.

"We've got to increase the penalties," Castor said at a news conference. "And (the IRS) has got to initiate the filters and screens that prevent these fraudulent returns from being filed."

Tax filing season started last week and authorities are bracing for an onslaught of fraudulent returns, especially in the Tampa Bay area, which has been a hot spot for this type of identity theft in recent years.

Castor and U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Spring Hill, introduced a similar bill last year, and though it did not pass, Castor saw the IRS voluntarily implement some of her objectives, including the IRS' willingness to share some information with local law enforcement to aid in their investigations.

This bill would put those changes into law and add a few more, including a required study of the role prepaid debit cards and tax preparation software play in tax fraud.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Comments
Are Democrats retaliating against Wengay Newton in re-election fight?

Are Democrats retaliating against Wengay Newton in re-election fight?

ST. PETERSBURG — Fallout from the 2017 mayoral race is stirring up emotions in the Democratic primary for state House District 70.Candidate Vito Sheeley is calling into question just how much of a Democrat incumbent state Rep. Wengay Newton really is...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Candidates bring varied backgrounds to contentious District 61 House race

Candidates bring varied backgrounds to contentious District 61 House race

TAMPA — One-hundred and one.According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections website, that’s the number of votes that stood between community activist Dianne Hart and Rep. Sean Shaw in 2016 when the two went head-to-head in the District 6...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Romano: Draining the swamp can be dangerous in Florida

Romano: Draining the swamp can be dangerous in Florida

Drain the swamp. That’s the rallying cry, right?More term limits, fewer career politicians. A ruling class of regular folks. There’s just one small problem. The average Floridian is more dangerous than whatever you’ll run into in a swamp. Other place...
Published: 08/21/18
As Trump fumes on Twitter, first lady warns of ‘destructive and harmful’ side of social media

As Trump fumes on Twitter, first lady warns of ‘destructive and harmful’ side of social media

As her husband continued to rip into his adversaries on Twitter, first lady Melania Trump on Monday warned that social media can be used in a "destructive and harmful" manner during remarks at a conference on preventing cyberbullying."In today’s glob...
Published: 08/20/18

Pasco Political Notebook for Aug. 24

Political NotebookMariano to discuss reelection campaignState Rep. Amber Mariano will speak to the Republican Club of Central Pasco Aug. 27 at Copperstone Executive Suites, 3632 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Land O’ Lakes. Social time begins at 6:30 p.m., wit...
Published: 08/20/18
Romano: A fresh start for Florida to protect abused children

Romano: A fresh start for Florida to protect abused children

The worst job in Florida is available, once again.Mike Carroll has announced his pending resignation as secretary of the Department of Children and Families, giving someone else the privilege to be an underfunded, second-guessed punching bag. For no ...
Published: 08/18/18
Pinellas commission candidate faced stalking, abuse claims

Pinellas commission candidate faced stalking, abuse claims

ST. PETERSBURG — A political newcomer seeking a Pinellas County Commission seat has faced accusations of physical abuse and stalking from her former fiance, who twice sought court-ordered protection from her.Both allegations came after Democrat Amy K...
Published: 08/17/18

Two Seminole council members face challengers

SEMINOLE — Six candidates have filed to run for two open seats on the City Council.Incumbents Chris Burke, first elected in 2012, and Trish Springer, elected in 2015, face challenges from former council member Dan Hester, who served from 2005 to 2010...
Published: 08/16/18
In Republican race for Pinellas County Commission seat, Rep. Kathleen Peters outpacing field

In Republican race for Pinellas County Commission seat, Rep. Kathleen Peters outpacing field

As the Aug. 28 primary election approaches, three Republicans are battling to represent a Pinellas County Commission district that hasn’t witnessed a competitive contest for more than 15 years.State Reps. Larry Ahern of Seminole and Kathleen Peters o...
Published: 08/16/18
Romano: Con artist or Florida politician? You decide

Romano: Con artist or Florida politician? You decide

Decorum matters, and so the attorney’s language was appropriately measured.In seeking to have a constitutional amendment thrown off the ballot, a motion filed in Leon County used words such as "misleading’’ and "ambiguity’’ and "wordsmithing.’’That’s...
Published: 08/16/18