IRS Crime Unit Found $10B in Tax Fraud, Financial Crimes in FY 2020

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The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division identified over $10 billion in tax fraud and other financial crimes during fiscal year 2020, according to the recently released annual report.

The report highlighted the agency’s successes and criminal enforcement actions taken in fiscal year 2020, the majority of which occurred during COVID-19.

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, the report found.

“Clearly, unscrupulous individuals sought to exploit the economic safeguards put in place to buttress a nation in crisis,” said Jim Lee, chief of CI, in a statement. “These individuals and groups were instead met with a cadre of special agents determined to thwart their efforts.”

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,” the report states.

As the only federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over federal tax crimes, CI has one of the highest conviction rates in federal law enforcement, at 90.4%.

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