IRS Criminal Investigation Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report; Identifies $2.3 Billion In Tax Fraud

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.

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Venar Ayar - Eggshell Tax Audit

Most people dread IRS audits even when they are not guilty of a tax offense. After all, the IRS would rarely audit you if there is no suspicion of foul play when filing taxes. For those being audited by the IRS, it is prudent to get a tax controversy attorney or a qualified CPA. Before this, however, it is also crucial for you to understand the different types of audits and the reasons behind them. You may or may not have come across those three statements (eggshell audit, criminal investigation, and criminal prosecution) as a taxpayer. Either way the purpose of this article is enlighten you further on their differences as well as their correlation to each other.

So, What Is An Eggshell Audit?

An eggshell audit is a civil examination conducted by the IRS in situations where the taxpayer’s returns contain information that show sufficient indications of fraud. These issues include; an understatement on the record information pertaining to a taxpayer’s income, or an overstatement of the taxpayer’s credits or deductions which he or she was otherwise not entitled to. Both of these situations, though unique to each other, all conclude to a tax liability recorded by the taxpayer that is less than what is actually owed to the IRS. This would be against the fundamental requirement by the IRS to file accurate and correct returns.

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A Greenwich, Connecticut man pleaded guilty October 26, 2017, to failing to report funds he maintained in foreign bank accounts to the Department of Treasury, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Chief Don Fort, IRS Criminal Investigation.

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A simple mistake, oversight, or your accountant’s malpractice may trigger an IRS criminal investigation. Specifically, unreported income, a false statement, the use of an impermissible accounting or banking service, or declaring too many deductions are things that could initiate an audit, which could then rise to the level of an IRS criminal investigation.

As you can imagine, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (“CID”) uses a vast array of tools to investigate a suspected tax evasion case or while conducting a criminal investigation. If you think about it, every employee of the IRS has a single task of ensuring that the IRS tax collections are maximized. IRS Special Agents, who work on the criminal tax cases, are no different. If you file your taxes, their goal is to prove that you may have Read More

The following is a summary of the Internal Revenue Service’s most recent Stakeholder Liaison Meeting in Denver, Colorado as prepared by Ann Burton, IRS Senior Stakeholder Liaison. It is jam packed with procedural information and status updates from line managers and group leaders of the various IRS operational functions including Collections, Examinations, Appeals, Tax Court etc. A worthy read for any practitioner navigating the seemingly troubled waters of IRS operations. I found some of the Q+A particularly enlightening. Towards the end there is also information on Colorado updates. Enjoy!

Dena Figueroa & Tammy Hobson, IRS Automated Collections – ACS

To help better protect taxpayer information, beginning January 5, 2014, we will no longer Read More