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IRS Criminal Investigations Unit Undertaking Fewer Cases

by Leroy Baker, Tax-News.com, Washington

01 March 2017

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released its Criminal Investigation (CI) division's annual report for the 2016 fiscal year (FY), showing a continued fall-off in cases initiated.

"The IRS continues to work to ensure that everyone is playing by the same rules and paying their fair share," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "The IRS is committed to fairly administering and enforcing the tax code, and our criminal investigators play a critical role in that effort."

However, IRS-CI initiated only 3,395 cases in FY2016 that focused on tax-related identity theft and refund fraud, money laundering, public corruption, cybercrime, and terrorist financing. That was a further fall compared with the 3,853, 4,297, and 5,314 cases initiated in FY2015, FY2014, and FY2013, respectively.

It was said that, at least in part, the fall in cases taken on reflected the fact that, as of September 30, 2016, IRS-CI only had 2,217 special agents, a 4.3 percent decrease compared to the number of special agents at the end of FY2015. Over the past five years (FY2011-FY2016), staffing levels for special agents and professional staff have decreased by 19.1 percent and 21.7 percent, respectively.

Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation Division, commented that, "though the total number of cases has dropped for the third consecutive year due to fewer agents and professional staff, we have continued to find ways to become even more efficient and the quality of our cases has never been greater."

It was noted that IRS-CI is the only federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over federal tax crimes. In FY2016, CI again boasted a conviction rate rivaling all of federal law enforcement at 92.1 percent. IRS-CI is routinely called upon by prosecutors across the country to lead financial investigations on a wide variety of financial crimes including international tax evasion, identity theft, terrorist financing, and transnational organized crime.

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax compliance | law | Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | enforcement | tax authority | United States

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