The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) is putting together a new international tax enforcement group, according to IRS-CI Chief Don Fort. This information was revealed publicly to reporters for the first time during an August 2 conference call. The new initiative is expected to be fully operational by October 1, Fort said.
Fort was sworn in as IRS-CI chief on June 26, 2017. Prior to his role as chief, he served as IRS-CI deputy chief. According to Fort, he has spent the past 26 years of his career at the IRS as a criminal investigation agent.
“Today, I’m announcing the formation of a dedicated international tax enforcement group,” Fort told reporters. The international tax enforcement group will form by consolidating the foremost experts in international tax cases. Fort noted that while most IRS-CI groups have 8-10 special agents, the international tax enforcement group is expected to have at least 10-12 special agents to start. The agents will work in the IRS’s D.C. field office as well as other locations throughout the country.
Additionally, IRS-CI is forming a nationally coordinated investigation unit, which is “cutting edge for CI and part of the future of IRS Criminal Investigation,” Fort said. The unit will focus on how to better manage and coordinate nationwide investigations. International tax enforcement will be the first priority within the unit.
While semi-operational now, the unit will have a very heavy data analytics component, Fort said. The data analytics component is expected to be complete in the coming months. “This particular unit is going to report directly to our frontline executives here in Washington, D.C. The goal of the unit is to really use all of the data that we have available to us to help identify and develop areas of noncompliance.”
According to Fort, the use of data throughout both of these IRS-CI initiatives helps the Service deal with a reduction in resources. “One of the ways we combat the reduction in resources is better use of data to help identify areas of noncompliance and really to help with case selection and future cases that we’re rolling out nationwide,” he said.
Fort stated that one of his goals as the new IRS-CI Chief is to make certain the Division is doing everything it can “strategically from a case selection standpoint” because special agent resources are scarce. “These efforts are a strong emphasis in using all available data and refining our case selection processes into the future.”
By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff