Why is IRS-CI Involved in International Investigations?
International tax compliance is a top priority of the IRS. The IRS is vigorously pursuing tax cheats around the world, no matter how remote or secret the location. Criminal Investigation, the law enforcement arm of the IRS, has an important role in the IRS’ service-wide international tax compliance efforts, and the CI international strategy to combat offshore tax evasion casts a wide net of enforcement efforts around the world
Complex international tax avoidance schemes and cross-border transactions have heightened the IRS’ concern about tax compliance. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CI) is seeing certain trends involving offshore accounts and noncompliance with the U.S. tax laws. Often, individuals attempt to use foreign accounts, credit/debit cards, trusts, corporations, partnerships, and other entities to commit criminal violations of U.S. tax laws as well as narcotics, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations. Using offshore methods to evade taxes is an issue of fundamental fairness; it is a crime that harms every honest taxpayer.
IRS Criminal Investigation coordinates its efforts with other countries to counteract tax schemes, money laundering, and the flow of narcotics and terrorist funding. These crimes all have a common link in that they are financial crimes. IRS Criminal Investigation special agents are forensic accountants trained to follow the money from the crime to the criminal to establish their culpability and find their hidden wealth. Worldwide, many countries have agreed to adopt international tax standards on exchanging information and, as a result, the age of bank secrecy is coming to an end. IRS Criminal Investigation is at the forefront of this effort.
IRS Criminal Investigation is working to develop new ways to share information and foster cooperation among other U.S. government agencies and our foreign government counterparts. We also work with other governments and law enforcement agencies to share knowledge and support the development of expertise in financial investigation techniques and forensic accounting procedures. We do this through our CI-developed and accredited training course, financial investigative training (FIT).
To enhance its international efforts Criminal Investigation has expanded its overseas presence by assigning attachés to key foreign embassies and consulates. Attachés establish strong ties with our foreign government and law enforcement partners working with them to gather and share information about possible financial crimes. Criminal Investigation also actively participates in a number of international financial task force groups to investigate significant areas of noncompliance and criminal activity. Criminal Investigation participates in INTERPOL, the Terrorist Finance Working Group (TFWG), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Criminals will no longer find favorable havens for overseas tax evasion. With tough legislation, global partnering and CI’s financial investigative skills, the days of overseas tax evasion and financial crimes are numbered.
If you have a tax question or need general assistance about a civil international tax matter, please check Help With Tax Questions - International Taxpayers.
Examples of International Investigations
Examples are written from public record documents on file in the court records in the judicial district in which the cases were prosecuted. IRS Special Agents participated in the financial investigative aspect of these cases.