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IRS Criminal Investigation targets tax fraudsters, urges taxpayers to protect themselves this tax season

IRS Criminal Investigation, Press Release

IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) dedicates 70 percent of its time and resources to investigating tax crimes that include questionable refund schemes, return preparer fraud, abusive tax schemes and more. This tax season, CI is cracking down on schemes that victimize U.S. taxpayers.
“The beginning of the income tax filing season is upon us, and CI wants to remind taxpayers to be vigilant during tax season in order to protect themselves from falling victim to tax fraudsters,” said Charlie Birch, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “CI will continue to dedicate our resources to investigating and bringing justice to those who commit tax crimes.”
In fiscal year 2023 alone, CI initiated 1,409 tax crime investigations and identified $5.5 billion in tax fraud. Six hundred fifty-five defendants were sentenced for tax crimes during the last fiscal year. Recent cases include:
In June 2023, Frederick Louis, of Cincinnati, was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for aiding or assisting in the preparation of a false return and aggravated identity theft. Louis, who previously work as a Tax Examiner for the IRS, acted as a “ghost preparer,” meaning that he prepared tax returns for compensation but failed to sign or otherwise declare the tax returns he prepared for other individuals. 

Louis used the taxpayer's electronic filing Personal Identification Number (PIN), fraudulently giving the appearance that the taxpayer had self-prepared and filed the return and concealing the fact Louis had prepared the return. From at least January 2016 and continuing through at least March 2021, Louis prepared tax returns with false expenses, deductions, dependents, and filing statuses to fraudulently generate tax refunds to which his clients were not entitled.
CI urges U.S. taxpayers to be vigilant this tax season:

• Avoid return preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers or whose fee is a percentage of your tax refund.

• Use a reputable tax professional who signs and enters a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) on your tax return and provides you with a copy of the return for your records.

• Never sign a blank tax form and ensure your refund goes to your account, not your tax preparer’s.

• Protect your personal and financial information. Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages about your tax return or those claiming to be from the IRS. These messages are fraudulent and could contain malware that could compromise your personal information.

• Report fraud to law enforcement. Submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral, if you suspect an individual or a business is committing fraud.

The 2024 Tax Filing Season began Jan. 29, and the deadline to file, pay any tax owed or request an extension to file  for most of the nation is April 15. The deadline for taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts is April 17.
CI is the law enforcement arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a nearly 90-percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.