IRS announces new fraud enforcement director

IRS announces new fraud enforcement director
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The IRS this week announced a director to lead the agency's coordination of tax-fraud enforcement efforts.

Damon Rowe, a longtime IRS employee in agency's criminal investigation division, will lead a new fraud enforcement office starting in mid-March. In his new role, Rowe will be responsible for overseeing the IRS-wide initiatives relating to both criminal and civil tax fraud, and he will be advising key IRS officials across the agency on issues relating to fraud enforcement.

The fraud-enforcement office will be housed in the IRS's small business/self employed division, which oversees civil-side audit issues. Eric Hylton, commissioner of the division, said that the division has had an office that's responsible for fraud activity but that it is being elevated to the executive level. The office will have about 70 employees and will be funded by the IRS's enforcement budget, he said.

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Hylton, who started in his position several months ago, said that one of his goals has been to strengthen the relationship between the IRS's criminal investigation division and other parts of the agency. He said he wanted to ensure that the IRS has a main point of contact on fraud issues.

“We want to ensure that the IRS has a robust and visible presence as it comes to tax enforcement,” Hylton said in an interview with The Hill. He added that enforcement is "true customer service for the customers who are doing it right.” 

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in a statement that Rowe's "exceptional leadership skills, background and expertise will strongly support agency determinations regarding the existence of fraud, and, just as important, determinations where a fraud referral should not occur."  

Rowe joined the IRS in 1998 and most recently was executive director of international operations for the agency's criminal investigation division. He has a bachelor of accounting degree from the University of Houston, a law degree from Texas Southern University and a master of legal letters in taxation from Southern Methodist University.