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

The IRS's Criminal Investigations unit was busy in 2013

The federal government is not forgiving of individuals or businesses it believes have committed tax crimes or are attempting to avoid paying taxes. All U.S. businesses and citizens, as well as some non-U.S. businesses and citizens, are required to pay taxes on all earned income. In cases where the IRS suspects an individual or business is engaging in activities related to tax evasion, money-laundering or tax fraud; a special division of the IRS known as the Criminal Investigations unit becomes involved.

The CI unit is comprised of approximately 3,700 IRS agents who specialize in investigating suspected cases related to activities that violate IRS tax codes. Within the CI unit, there are three programs that focus on different types of criminal activities related to tax crimes, financial crimes and drug and counterterrorism financial crimes.

For fiscal year 2013, the IRS's CI unit initiated a total of 5,314 investigations into alleged tax and financial crimes. Roughly 62 percent of these investigations resulted in successful convictions and 80 percent of those individuals convicted were sentenced to serve time in federal prisons or other detention facilities.

When it comes to CI investigations related to general tax fraud, a total of 1,554 cases where investigated by the IRS in 2013. Of these cases, 62 percent resulted in defendants being sentenced to serve average sentences of two years and five months.

Other investigations commonly conducted by IRS CI agents include alleged criminal activity related to employment tax evasion, abusive tax schemes, money laundering, nonfiler enforcement and questionable refunds.

During 2013, the majority of criminal investigations pursued by the CI unit included activities related to general tax fraud, questionable refunds and money laundering. Individuals who fear they may face or are facing an IRS criminal investigation, would be wise to take action to protect their rights and retain a defense attorney.

Source: IRS.gov, "Criminal Enforcement Statistical Data," 2014

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