The Internal Revenue Service today released the Criminal Investigation Division's annual report, highlighting the agency’s successes and criminal enforcement actions taken in fiscal year 2020, the majority of which occurred during COVID-19.
A Key Achievement Was The Identification of
Over $10 Billion In Tax Fraud and Other Financial Crimes.
"The special agents and professional staff who make up Criminal Investigation continue to perform at an incredibly high-level year after year," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Even in the face of a global pandemic, the CI workforce initiated nearly 1,600 investigations and identified $2.3 billion in tax fraud schemes. This is no small feat during a challenging year, and their work is critical to protecting taxpayers and the integrity of our tax system."
Key focuses of CI in fiscal year 2020 included COVID-19 related fraud, cybercrimes, with an emphasis on virtual and cryptocurrencies, traditional tax investigations, international tax enforcement, employment tax, refund fraud and tax-related identity theft.
In response to COVID-19 related crimes, CI special agents quickly adapted their investigative techniques to initiate cases into fraudulent claims for Economic Impact Payments, Paycheck Protection Program loans, and refundable payroll tax credits from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
In fiscal year 2020, CI initiated 1,598 cases, applying 73% of its time to tax related investigations.
- The number of CI special agents increased by one percent, following special agent hiring to offset planned retirements.
- CI continued increasing its usage of data analytics and strengthening its international partnerships to assist in finding the most impactful cases.
- One important partnership remained the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5); a transnational committee comprised of tax organizations from five countries. In FY 2020 alone, more information was shared regarding cryptocurrency, tax crimes, and related enforcement, than in the previous ten years combined.
- CI also saw the first guilty pleas for a case under the J5 umbrella.
With Jurisdiction Over Federal Tax Crimes,
CI Has One of the Highest Conviction Rates
In Federal Law Enforcement − At 90.4%.
The high conviction rate reflects the thoroughness of CI investigations and the high caliber of CI agents. CI is routinely called upon by prosecutors and partner agencies across the country to lead financial investigations on a wide variety of financial crimes.
The 2020 report is interactive, summarizes a wide variety of CI activity during the year and features examples of cases from each field office on a wide range of financial crimes. The federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and ends on Sept. 30.