On March 9th, Tax Partner Scott Knott and I attended the Federal Bar Association Tax Law Conference in Washington, D.C. Known colloquially as the “inside the beltway tax conference,” many high ranking federal government employees from DOJ, Treasury, and the IRS were in attendance and speaking on various new developments in the tax law.
The key note speaker, Don Fort, Chief IRS Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), spoke about the work of his division in the areas of tax evasion, money laundering, the use of cryptocurrencies to conceal income, and terrorist financing. Mr. Fort highlighted that the mission of IRS-CI is to have a maximum deterrent effect and enhance voluntary compliance with the tax laws. Mr. Fort said maximum deterrent effect comes from working with the DOJ to prosecute tax crimes that generate publicity or are highly visible to the public. Enhancing voluntary compliance necessarily involves identifying tax crimes in the first place. In that regard, Mr. Fort stated that whistleblowers are one of the most important sources of information for IRS-CI.
- Mr. Fort closed by noting that even though his division has the same number of special agents as it had 50 years ago, IRS-CI continually investigates some of the most complicated cases in the agency’s history. According to IRS-CI’s Annual Report for 2017, international investigations have increased substantially from the 186 indictments in 2015, to 221 initiated in 2016, to 283 initiated at the end of 2017. Indictments have increased correspondingly.
We have spoken to Mr. Fort in the past concerning criminal tax matters, some of which IRS-CI has taken action on, and Mr. Fort has encouraged us to forward relevant evidence of criminal tax evasion to his division. If you have information about criminal tax evasion, please contact The Ferraro Law Firm for a free consultation.