WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released the Criminal Investigation Division’s (CI) annual report, reflecting significant accomplishments and criminal enforcement actions taken in fiscal year 2018.
“This report shows that as financial crime has evolved and proliferated around the world, so have IRS Criminal Investigation special agents and their abilities to track the proceeds of financial crime,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “CI uses cutting-edge technology combined with sophisticated investigative work to bring the most impactful cases that affect tax administration. I am extremely proud of our special agents and professional staff and their work serving the nation.”
A major focus of CI in fiscal 2018 was traditional tax cases, including international tax enforcement, employment tax, refund fraud and tax-related identity theft. Other areas of emphasis included public corruption, cybercrime, terrorist financing and money laundering.
“We prioritized the use of data in our investigations in fiscal 2018,” said Don Fort, Chief of CI. “The future for CI must involve leveraging the vast amount of data we have to help drive case selection and make us more efficient in the critical work that we do. Data analytics is a powerful tool for identifying areas of tax non-compliance.”
CI initiated 2,886 cases in fiscal 2018, with traditional tax cases accounting for 73 percent of the total. The number of CI special agents dipped below 2,100 by the end of fiscal 2018, which is the lowest level since the early 1970’s. Consequently, CI turned to data analytics 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 91.7 percent in fiscal 2018, which is among the highest of all federal law enforcement agencies. The high conviction rate reflects the thoroughness of CI investigations and the high quality of CI agents. CI is routinely called upon by prosecutors across the country to lead financial investigations on a wide variety of financial crimes.
CI has published an annual report since 1920 to highlight the agency’s successes and provide a historical snapshot of the make-up and priorities of the organization. The 2018 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 current year, fiscal 2019, marks the 100-year anniversary of CI as a law enforcement agency. CI’s crime-fighting techniques have come a long way in that time. The federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and ends on Sept. 30.
“As we begin our 100th year, I could not be prouder to lead this exceptional agency of dedicated women and men,” Fort said. “We have never been more capable, better trained or more relevant to the financial crimes landscape.”