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March 23, 2016

IRS Criminal Prosecutions Continue Downward Slide
By Jason Bramwell

The odds of a taxpayer being recommended for criminal prosecution by the IRS have dropped to their lowest level since President Obama took office, according to new research by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). As a result of cuts to the IRS’s budget, the number of IRS matters referred to federal prosecutors decreased from 13.3 per million population in fiscal year 2013 – the highest number in the past five years – to 9.2 per million in fiscal year 2015. Why the sharp decline? TRAC says it appears to be related to the drop in the number of IRS criminal investigators in recent years. In FY 2010, the IRS had 2,754 criminal investigators on staff. But in FY 2015, the agency had 2,319 – a 16 percent decrease during that period. “Considering the last several decades, the odds of criminal prosecution from an IRS referral, while still higher than they were during the last Bush administration, are only half the level that prevailed 25 years ago in the early ’90s,” TRAC states. In FY 1992, IRS criminal enforcements topped out at roughly 21 per million population, according to TRAC data.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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