The mission of the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) unit is to investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and related financial crimes in a manner that fosters confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law.
Below is an overview, published by the Internal Revenue Service, of the Criminal Investigation Unit:
IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) is comprised of nearly 3,500 employees worldwide, approximately 2,500 of whom are special agents whose investigative jurisdiction includes tax, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws. While other federal agencies also have investigative jurisdiction for money laundering and some bank secrecy act violations, IRS is the only federal agency that can investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code.
Compliance with the tax laws in the United States relies heavily on self-assessments of what tax is owed. This is called voluntary compliance. When individuals and corporations make deliberate decisions to not comply with the law, they face the possibility of a civil audit or criminal investigation which could result in prosecution and possible jail time. Publicity of these convictions provides a deterrent effect that enhances voluntary compliance.
As financial investigators, CI special agents fill a unique niche in the federal law enforcement community. Today’s sophisticated schemes to defraud the government demand the analytical ability of financial investigators to wade through complex paper and computerized financial records. Due to the increased use of automation for financial records, CI special agents are trained to recover computer evidence. Along with their financial investigative skills, special agents use specialized forensic technology to recover financial data that may have been encrypted, password protected, or hidden by other electronic means.
Criminal Investigation’s conviction rate is one of the highest in federal law enforcement. Not only do the courts hand down substantial prison sentences, but those convicted must also pay fines, civil taxes and penalties.