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California Watch
April 16, 2012

LA region less likely to prosecute IRS cases
By Kendall Taggart


The IRS investigates and refers cases about tax fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, organized crime and public corruption. Compared with the volume of cases it handles, the IRS refers only a small percentage for federal prosecution. Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which compiled the data analyzed by California Watch, estimated that the odds of having the IRS refer a case to a federal prosecutor were about 12 per million nationwide last year. In California, the IRS referred about 540 cases to federal prosecutors in the last fiscal year. When adjusted for population, the odds of having a case referred to a federal prosecutor in the state are 15 per million, slightly higher than the national average. When they do receive cases from the IRS, three of the state's four U.S. attorneys prosecute alleged offenders at a rate above the national average, the data shows. Across the country, close to 54 percent of all IRS referrals are prosecuted. In the eastern district covering Sacramento, that prosecution rate is about 62 percent. For the northern San Francisco and the southern San Diego districts, the prosecution rate is the same: 57.8 percent. For Los Angeles, the rate falls to 51.4 percent. The IRS has several ways of enforcing tax law, including audits and civil charges. "The heavy gun of the IRS is criminal enforcement, but its a much less frequent event, said David Burnham, a co-director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.


Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2012
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