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Program Assessment


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Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations

This program ensures taxpayers comply with their tax obligations by investigating possible criminal violations of the tax code. Conviction of tax cheaters deters tax evasion among the general public and helps reassure taxpayers that the system is fair.


What This Rating Means

Moderately Effective

In general, a program rated Moderately Effective has set ambitious goals and is well-managed. Moderately Effective programs likely need to improve their efficiency or address other problems in the programs' design or management in order to achieve better results.
  • The tax gap, the difference for a given year between taxes legally owed and taxes actually paid, for 2001 (latest available figure) is estimated to be between $312 and $353 billion. Criminal Investigation is one of the major IRS programs intended to minimize this revenue loss.
  • Research suggests that higher levels of criminal sentences lead to higher tax compliance. IRS has succeeded in raising convictions in recent years. They rose from 1,926 in 2002 to 2,215 in 2005. However, they remain low by historical standards (in 1996 convictions totaled 2,915).
  • IRS has set long term goals and efficiency measures. However, it has difficulty measuring compliance in a timely manner due to the complexity and expense involved and in holding employees accountable for performance due to legal restrictions.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Implement upgrades to the infrastructure and components of the Criminal Investigation Management Information System (CIMIS) to keep the technology current.
  • Implement the Investigative Scanning and Document Management System (ISDM).
  • Developing methods to improve case prioritization in 2006 to ensure that cases yield the greatest impact on compliance.

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The content on is developed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Federal agencies.