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Prosecution of tax violations up in 2013 fiscal year

Tax violations, such as tax fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns are taken seriously in Georgia and across the United States. In fact the Internal Revenue Service has reported that in the 2013 fiscal year, enforcement activities significantly rose leading to convictions against alleged perpetrators.

The IRS, like many other government agencies, has a criminal investigations division, known as the IRS-CI. This division is tasked with investigating and prosecuting those who are accused of violating the Internal Revenue Code.

Compared to 2012, the conviction rate by the IRS-CI was up 0.1 percent in the 2013 fiscal year. Prosecution recommendations were up almost 18 percent. In addition, initiated investigations were also up over 12 percent.

The IRS-CI issued a report showing that, in 2013, prosecution recommendations were made for 4,300 cases. Of those, 3,800 individuals were indicted, and more than 90 percent of cases that were closed in 2013 resulted in convictions. One major priority of the IRS-CI in 2013 was prosecuting identity theft, although it prosecuted other types of tax crimes as well.

Although it may not be apparent, tax crimes have consequences in the real world. Tax identity theft can delay tax refunds and ruin a person's credit score. Money laundering can funnel cash into other criminal activities. And tax evasion only increases the $385 billion gap between what the IRS actually collects and what it is supposed to.

Because of these consequences, the IRS will take aggressive action against those who allegedly commit tax violations. In these situations, it is important for the accused to develop a strong defense strategy against the charges they face. It may seem daunting, but with the right help, the accused can fight such charges. The accused has the right to tell his or her side of the story in court and to present evidence, witnesses and arguments in their favor. In the end, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

Source: Forbes, "IRS Investigations, Prosecutions For Tax Crimes Up In 2013," Kelly Phillips Erb, Feb. 26, 2014

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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