The Associated Press
In this July 23, 2014 file photo, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.

WASHINGTON — A government watchdog says the IRS issued $5.6 billion in potentially bogus education tax credits in a single year.

A new report by the agency's inspector general says the credits were issued to more than 3.6 million taxpayers in 2012. Most of the credits went to students even though the IRS never received a tuition statement from the school.

Some students attended schools that weren't eligible for federal funding while others didn't take enough classes to qualify for the tax break.

The IRS said officials have taken steps to better police education credits, including changes in 2012 that reduced the number of bogus claims by $4.5 billion. The IRS said Congress could help by simplifying the education tax credits and by giving the IRS more tools to validate student eligibility.