IRS hitting criminal investigation targets

In general, the IRS criminal unit examines cases involving legal industries, and its work is also designed to promote both voluntary compliance with the tax code and fairness within the tax code. According to the most recent estimates, the tax gap – the difference between what taxpayers owed and what was paid on time – stood at $345 billion in 2001.

The inspector general audit found that the criminal unit closed 4,325 cases in fiscal 2010, well above its goal of 3,900, a mark the unit did not hit in 2009.

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The average investigation, meanwhile, took exactly one year, a roughly 9 percent improvement over 2009, and the number of convictions in legal source tax cases also rose 7 percent from 2009 to 2010, and has jumped close to 23 percent since fiscal 2006.

As the audit points out, the unit’s performance also improved even as its staffing numbers decreased by roughly 2 percent since 2006. In all, the unit received around $658 million of the $12.1 billion the IRS was appropriated in 2010.