Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C.

Despite budget cuts, IRS criminal investigations continue to increase

We've previously reported about the financial woes affecting the Internal Revenue Service. However, these budget and staffing cuts have not appeared to deter the IRS from actively pursuing, investigating and prosecuting a number of criminal IRS cases including those that deal with alleged tax fraud and tax evasion.

Recently, the IRS released information related to the 2013 actions of the agency's Criminal Investigation unit. The report indicates that, during 2013, the number of IRS cases investigated by the unit rose to 5,314, a number that signifies an 18 percent increase over the number of CI investigations during 2012. Additionally, of those 5,314 cases, 93 percent resulted in successful convictions.

A large number of those cases pursued by the CI unit revolved around crimes related to identify theft. However, agency officials report that the unit actively seeks to identify possible criminal activity and pursue legal action in a number of cases including those related to tax crimes and money laundering.

The report of the CI's actions throughout 2013 prove that, despite staffing and budget cuts, the IRS continues to aggressively go after individuals and small business owners who are suspected of violating IRS and state and federal laws.

Individuals who believe or know they are the subject of an IRS investigation would be wise to retain a criminal defense attorney who handles matters related to tax crimes. If convicted of crimes such as tax fraud or tax evasion, an individual could face both stiff penalties as well as time behind bars.

Source: Streetsboro Gateway News, IRS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION ISSUES ANNUAL REPORT," Feb. 24, 2014

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