IRS Criminal Investigation Division

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Criminal Investigation
Abbreviation IRS-CI
Badge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division
Agency overview
Formed July 1, 1919
Employees 3,700 (approx.)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency United States
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction Taxation.
Operational structure
Headquarters 1111 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC
Special agents 2,600 (approx)
Agency executive Richard Weber, Chief
Parent agency Internal Revenue Service

Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) investigates potential criminal violations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner intended to foster confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law. While other federal agencies also have investigative jurisdiction for money laundering and some bank secrecy act violations, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the only federal agency that can investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code.

Chief Richard Weber oversees a worldwide staff of approximately 3,700 CI employees, including approximately 2,600 special agents who investigate and assist in the prosecution of criminal tax, money laundering, and narcotics-related financial crime cases.

According to statistical data on the IRS web site, Criminal Investigation initiated 5,125 investigations in fiscal year 2012, which was an 8.6 percent increase over fiscal year 2011. In addition, over a ten-year span, prosecution recommendations have increased 46 percent to a total of 3,701 for fiscal year 2012.[1]


On July 1, 1919, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue created the Intelligence Unit to investigate widespread allegations of tax fraud. To establish the Intelligence Unit, six United States Post Office Inspectors were transferred to the Bureau of Internal Revenue to become the first special agents in charge of the organization that would one day become Criminal Investigation. They formed the nucleus that became the Intelligence Unit.

The Intelligence Unit quickly became renowned for the financial investigative skill of its special agents. It attained national prominence in the 1930s for the conviction of public enemy number one, Al Capone, for income tax evasion, and its role in solving the Lindbergh kidnapping. From these promising beginnings the Intelligence Unit expanded over the intervening decades, investigating tax evasion by ordinary citizens, prominent businesspersons, government officials, and notorious criminals.

In July 1978, the Intelligence Unit changed its name to Criminal Investigation (CI). Over the years CI’s statutory jurisdiction expanded to include money laundering and currency violations in addition to its traditional role in investigating tax violations. However, Criminal Investigation’s core mission remains unchanged. It continues to fulfill the important role of helping to ensure the integrity and fairness of the United States tax system.

Since CI’s inception in 1919 to the present, the conviction rate for Federal tax prosecutions has never fallen below 90 percent. This is a record of success that is unmatched in Federal law enforcement.[2]

Strategic Priorities[edit]

The Criminal Investigation strategic plan is composed of four interdependent programs: Legal Source Tax Crimes; Illegal Source Financial Crimes; Narcotics Related Financial Crimes: and Counterterrorism Financing. These four programs are mutually supportive, and encourage utilization of all statutes within CI’s jurisdiction, the grand jury process, and enforcement techniques to combat tax, money laundering and currency crime violations. Criminal Investigation must investigate and assist in the prosecution of those significant financial investigations that will generate the maximum deterrent effect, enhance voluntary compliance, and promote public confidence in the tax system.[3]


The CID is the only unit within the IRS authorized to carry firearms. Special Agents are trained in the use of, and issued, the Glock handguns, specifically the Glock 22, 23, or 27 as sidearms. Remington 870 shotguns or AR-15-type rifles are also equipped depending on the situation.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ IRS web site [1].
  2. ^ "History of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI).". US Department of the Treasury. 
  3. ^ "Criminal Investigation (CI) At-a-Glance.". US Department of the Treasury. 
  4. ^ "Criminal Investigation Skills and Training". Internal Revenue Service. 

External links[edit]