WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released the Criminal Investigation Division’s (CI) annual report , highlighting significant successes and criminal enforcement actions taken in fiscal year 2019. The report also commemorates CI’s 100th year anniversary as a law enforcement agency.
“CI is critical to the overall enforcement efforts of the IRS in pursuing its Mission in a fair, impartial, diligent and, where appropriate, tenacious manner.” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report summarizes various CI activities throughout the year but vastly understates the importance of CI to the overall IRS mission. CI supports the efforts of compliant taxpayers by visibly demonstrating the risks of noncompliance thereby helping otherwise honest taxpayers stay honest and compliant.”
Key focuses of CI in fiscal year 2019 included cybercrimes, with an emphasis on virtual and crypto currencies, traditional tax investigations, international tax enforcement, employment tax, refund fraud and tax-related identity theft. Other areas of emphasis included public corruption, corporate fraud and money laundering.
“We are working smarter using data analytics to augment good old-fashioned police work and find those cases that have the biggest impact on tax administration,” said Don Fort, Chief of CI. “We are leading the world in our ability to trace virtual currency in financial investigations while still working our bread and butter tax enforcement mission areas.”
CI initiated 2,485 cases in fiscal year 2019, applying approximately 75 percent of its time to tax related investigations. The number of CI special agents dropped to 2,009 by the end of fiscal year 2019, which is the lowest level since the early 1970’s. Consequently, CI has increased its usage of data analytics and strengthened its international partnerships to assist in finding the most-impactful cases.
CI is the only federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over federal tax crimes. CI achieved a conviction rate of 91.2 percent in fiscal year 2019, which is among the highest of all federal law enforcement agencies. The high conviction rate reflects the thoroughness of CI investigations and the high caliber of CI agents. CI is routinely called upon by prosecutors across the country to lead financial investigations on a wide variety of financial crimes.
“While we have published an annual report since 1920 to highlight our successes during the past year, this particular year had special meaning as we celebrated our 100th anniversary as a law enforcement agency,” Fort said. “Honor the Badge, Preserve the Legacy, Master Your Craft, Inspire the Future. These are the guiding principles that IRS Criminal Investigation lives by and that 2019 was defined by.”
The 2019 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.