Improved Planning for Developing and Selecting IRS Criminal Tax Cases Can Strengthen Enforcement of Federal Tax Laws

GGD-80-9: Published: Nov 6, 1979. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 1979.

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must use its agents as efficiently as possible to carry out a balanced effective enforcement program. It tries to balance cases among all types of violations in many income tax brackets, occupations, and geographical locations. This report discussed the need for better planning to enhance the productivity of criminal case development and selection activities.

The IRS needs to improve planning by clearly defining its national strategy and establishing additional, more specific goals for detecting and deterring tax fraud. The planning process needed more input from the Department of Justice and from U.S. attorneys. These groups carry out IRS recommendations of prosecution. Cases selected for detailed investigation required substantial resource expenditures, and many of those selected did not lead to prosecution. Improved planning could provide employees better and more consistent training on referrals and could afford managers better guidance for initiating and conducting information-gathering efforts. In addition, improved planning could develop criteria against which the potential value of information items would be measured.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop specific methods through which the Justice Department and the IRS can better coordinate their efforts to combat tax fraud. The Commissioner should further refine the Criminal Investigation Division's short-range program plans in light of data developed through its long-range planning process. He should: clarify the guidance provided to referring agents by developing guidelines for referral training applicable to each district office; develop guidelines which district directors and higher level IRS officials can use to evaluate the appropriateness of Division-proposed information gathering projects; revise guidelines pertaining to individual information gathering activities so that a file on such efforts contains clear documentation describing investigative steps performed and results leading to disposition decisions; and revise Internal Revenue's information form in order to ensure the future availability of data needed to analyze and improve information item evaluations. Each district Criminal Investigation Division chief should be required to use the case pool approach in selecting cases.

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