IRS Criminal Division Commemorates 100th Anniversary and Highlights Intent to Increase Number of Convictions

On December 5, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released the IRS's Criminal Investigation division's (CI) 100th Annual Report.1 Besides highlighting significant CI successes and criminal enforcement actions during the fiscal year of 2019, the report unambiguously presents the IRS's intent to pursue higher conviction rates and focus on cryptocurrency and cybercrime. The report also marks the CI's 100th anniversary.

Reminding taxpayers that CI is the only federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over federal tax cases, the report announced that CI achieved an impressive conviction rate of 91.2% in 2019-among the highest in federal law enforcement agencies. The IRS notes that this high conviction rate "reflects the thoroughness of CI investigations and the high caliber of CI agents."2 Significantly, Chief of the CI division, Don Fort, states that "this year we will hire more agents than we have in the last five years combined."3

It is apparent from the report that the IRS continues to prioritize pursuit of tax evasion via cryptocurrency transactions and cybercrime. Indeed, Chief Fort stated that:

Today's cyber criminals think we cannot catch them, but as evidenced by some of the great casework in this report, I would say they are wrong. As I said in a recent press conference, criminals used to hide by laundering their money through shell companies around the country, but we traced them. They took their money offshore and hid around the world, but we found them. They went on the dark web thinking that their actions were anonymous, but they weren't, and we again found them. They now deal in crypto-currency, again thinking this will make them anonymous, but our agents have once again proved that there is nowhere to hide. We will not stop in our pursuit.

The IRS also made a point of emphasizing that it is continuing to expand its global reach. IRS CI division Deputy Chief Jim Lee clarified that, in the international arena, CI works with its partners to further transparency and common goals.

The report confidently asserts that CI has the world's "most sophisticated financial crime law enforcement personnel" of all time.4

Concerned taxpayers, particularly those either currently facing an IRS criminal investigation, or those involved in an audit or civil litigation with the potential to become a criminal investigation, should contact a skilled tax attorney to advocate on their behalf immediately.

If you need a passionate advocate in the face of an existing or potential IRS criminal investigation, contact Frost & Associates, LLC today at 410-497-5947.


[1] https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/2019_irs_criminal_investigation_annual_report.pdf. The report features case examples involving various financial crimes from each field office.

[2] IR-2019-199, available at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-criminal-investigation-releases-fiscal-year-2019-annual-report-celebrates-100-years.

[3] https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/2019_irs_criminal_investigation_annual_report.pdf at 3.

[4] Id. at 4.

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