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

Efforts of IRS to pursue tax crimes hampered by budget cuts

Washington politics are at the center of major budgetary cuts at the Internal Revenue Service that may severely hamper the agency's ability to investigate and prosecute criminal tax cases. Like most federal offices, the IRS relies upon highly skilled professionals when seeking to bring criminal charges against individuals and corporations related to tax crimes like tax evasion, tax fraud and money laundering.

In recent years, the IRS has been the subject of much debate and disdain among republican and tea party members after it was revealed that agency officials subjected conservative groups that were applying for tax-exempt status to excess scrutiny. The backlash against the IRS has been fierce with the "republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voting to cut the IRS' enforcement budget in 2015 by over $1 billion."

The steep budgetary cuts mean the agency will have to get by with fewer special investigators and, consequently, won't be able to pursue as many criminal IRS cases. According to a Reuters report, cuts in funding mean the agency won't be able to fill many of the vacant positions left by retiring special agents. In 1995 the agency employed 3,358 special agents, however, that number is expected to drop to just 2,130 by 2016.

From personal taxpayer audits to full scale public corruption cases, the efforts of IRS special agents are credited with bringing in an estimated $55 billion each year. With the number of criminal cases being investigated and prosecuted expected to decline considerably, revenue generated by the agency is also expected to sharply decrease.

To help ensure the agency's effectiveness in pursing criminal tax matters, IRS division chief, Richard Weber believes the agency needs to hire nearly 1,000 additional special agents. That would mean, however, a significant increase in funding which, in light of the recent political backlash, won't likely be approved by conservative politicians any time in the near future.

Source:, "Exclusive: IRS Enforcement Agent Numbers Could Drop To Lowest Levels Since 1970s," Reuters, Aug. 25, 2014

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