Times are tough and the state and federal governments need money. The IRS in particular has been hiring experienced tax attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents to step up enforcement action. In the IRS’s opinion, the non-filer creates one of the most significant compliance issues facing the U.S. system of taxation and accordingly has targeted the problem of non-filers as one of the IRS’s highest priorities. The IRS estimates that approximately 10 million taxpayers fail to file their federal income tax returns each year.
The IRS posts on its Web site “one of the basic tenets of our tax system is the belief that all citizens must comply with the requirements to file returns and pay taxes. Taxpayers who willfully fail to file income tax returns pose a serious threat to tax administration and voluntary compliance.”
In response to the non-filer problem, the IRS has implemented a cross-functional National Non-Filer Strategy. The overall goal of this strategy is to bring non-filers back into compliance. The IRS has involved its Criminal Investigation (CI) division, which consists of agents trained in law enforcement and armed with side arms, in this program where high profile non-filers are non-responsive to outreach efforts. IRS-CI has devoted resources to identify these individuals, and in the most flagrant cases, criminal prosecution has been and will continue to be recommended.
The IRS- CI mission statement is as follows:
Criminal Investigation serves the American public by investigating potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner that fosters confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law.