What does the IRS do with suspected tax evasion?

Few government agencies have the potential to be more intimidating than the Internal Revenue Service. After all, even if you diligently prepare your tax return and pay your fair share, you may receive an audit. Even worse, IRS agents may accuse you of committing tax evasion. 

Because tax evasion has some serious legal consequences, IRS professionals must follow specific procedures to protect your due process rights. These procedures have a few critical steps. 

The collection of information

If a revenue agent or someone else at the IRS has reason to believe you may have committed tax evasion, he or she is likely to collect relevant information, including your tax return and other documents. Then, an agency supervisor is apt to review the assembled information to see if the agency should continue its investigation. 

A supervisor’s referral

If a supervisor’s review of gathered information confirms potential tax evasion, the supervisor is likely to review the matter to a special agent. This referral begins the criminal investigation in earnest. 

The criminal investigation

When the special agent receives a supervisor’s referral, he or she must investigate the matter thoroughly. The agent may review your tax filing and other tax-related information. He or she may also interview witnesses and gather evidence against you. This may require obtaining a search warrant in federal court. 

After a special agent completes the investigation, he or she may refer the matter for prosecution. Then, prosecutors may use evidence from the criminal investigation to secure either a plea deal or a guilty verdict.