The IRS has released its annual report on the activities of the Criminal Investigation (CI) section. Claiming a 91.5 % conviction rate in the cases that actually go to indictment, the types of cases fall into a wide range of categories ranging from traditional tax cases to narcotics, financial institution fraud and even terrorism. Over 150 non-filers were sentenced to an average of 36 months incarceration. Payroll tax cases sent 77 people to jail for an average sentence of 21 months. Abusive return preparers numbering 194 were sentenced to an average of 26 months confinement. False refund claims sent 555 persons to prison for an average of 30 months. Identity theft resulted in 550 perpetrators receiving an average of 34 months. For a complete breakdown, visit: https://www.irs.gov/pub/foia/ig/ci/2017_criminal_investigation_annual%20report.pdf
The report has information for each CI office and examples of their most important cases. It also sets out specialized units that focus on highly sophisticated types of crimes. As always, the message is, if you are charged with a tax or other crime under the jurisdiction of the IRS, there is a high probability that you will go to jail. Obviously, if you are ever contacted by a person identifying themselves as an IRS agent, you should decline to be interviewed, request a business card from that person and immediately seek experienced counsel. A favorite joke often repeated at seminars on this subject goes as follows:
An attorney receives a frantic call from a prospective client who says “Two IRS criminal agents just left my house!” The attorney responds “Oh, my gosh! You didn’t tell them anything did you?” The prospective client says “No, of course not!” The attorney then asks, “How long were they there?” The prospective client responds “Two hours.” Don’t be that prospective client.