IRS Releases 2019 Report of Criminal Enforcement, Celebrates 100 Years of Investigations

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service publishes a report with information about its criminal enforcement efforts over the preceding 12 months. This past week, the IRS released the latest report, showing that it had significant successes in enforcing tax law and levying fines and other punishments for rulebreakers.

In the past year, a major focus for the IRS has been cybercurrency and cybercrimes, international tax enforcement, identity theft, refund fraud, and corporate fraud and money laundering.


“We are working smarter, using data analytics to augment good old-fashioned police work and find those cases that have the biggest impact on tax administration,” said Don Fort, the chief of Criminal Investigations, in a press release. “We are leading the world in our ability to trace virtual currency in financial investigations while still working our bread-and-butter tax enforcement mission areas.”

The report shows that the Criminal Investigations unit opened 2,485 cases in the fiscal year 2019. At the same time, the number of agents working for the organization dropped to the lowest level since the early 1970s. Criminal Investigations only had 2,009 special agents working for it by the end of fiscal year 2019. To ensure that the unit remained effective even while working with fewer special agents, it increased its use of data analytics and beefed up its international partnerships. The department also shifted its focus to the cases that would have the most impact to ensure that it would get the most return for its use of resources.

The report from Criminal Investigations – which is the only federal law enforcement agency to have jurisdiction over suspected federal tax crimes – also showed that the agency had a 91.2 percent conviction rate this fiscal year. The agency had one of the highest conviction rates of any federal agency investigating and prosecuting crimes of any type.

Celebrating a Century of Investigations

The latest report from Criminal Investigations not only shared information about the year’s successes, but it also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the agency.

“While we have published an annual report since 1920 to highlight our successes during the past year, this particular year had special meaning as we celebrated our 100th anniversary as a law enforcement agency,” Fort said. “Honor the Badge, Preserve the Legacy, Master Your Craft, Inspire the Future. These are the guiding principles that IRS Criminal Investigation lives by and that 2019 was defined by.”

Chuck Rettig, the commissioner of the IRS, said that the Criminal Investigations unit is critical to the overall enforcement efforts of the IRS, which tries to remain fair and impartial in its dealing with taxpayers. He said that the efforts of the agency encourage taxpayer compliance and honesty.

Anyone can review the 2019 Criminal Investigations report, which summarizes numerous activities and features numerous examples of cases and crimes. The report is interactive for ease of use, and it covers the period from Oct.1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019, which is the 2019 fiscal year.

The Impact on Individual Taxpayers

What this report should tell taxpayers is that the IRS is spending a considerable amount of resources to ensure that everyone is compliant with their tax responsibilities. Even if you don’t see a consequence right away for failing to report something or for reporting something incorrectly, you can expect to get notice of it eventually – and to pay the consequences.

Unfortunately, not everyone who underpays their taxes does so on purpose. Many people just don’t understand the complexity of the tax law, so they make mistakes on their returns. Some people put their trust in tax preparers who don’t know what they’re doing or who cut corners to get clients a big refund, and that lands them in trouble.

You need good tax professionals on your side, both to ensure that you don’t make any missteps when you are filing your taxes and to represent you if the IRS comes knocking. The attorneys at Silver law PLC in Arizona are ready to help if you have been notified by the IRS that you are suspected of criminal behavior or that criminal charges are pending against you. Our attorneys represent individual and business clients in civil and criminal tax litigation. All of our attorneys have worked for the IRS in the past, and they use that unique experience to provide the best defense for our clients. We also represent clients who are being audited, those seeking innocent spouse relief, those dealing with foreign tax reporting requirements, and more. Contact us in Arizona to talk with a tax attorney about your concerns today.

Silver Law PLC

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Las Vegas, Nevada 89145
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