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IRS prosecuting more tax frauds, says new report


MILWAUKEE (WSAU) -- An Internal Revenue Service report shows that the agency is arresting and convicting more tax frauds.

The IRS Criminal Investigation division has been doing more with less, according to Special Agent Rick Myrland in Milwaukee. "The number of field agents we have out the streets and working cases has decreased by about seven percent or so, but in that same time period the number of prosecutions and recommendations to prosecute have increased about 28 percent."

Myrland says they're working to improve the way they prosecute and investigate tax fraud. "I think our processes are becoming more efficient, and I think we're fine-tuning our our ability to select even better, more fruitful cases that have a better outcome for the American people really." The overall conviction rate last year was 93 percent for cases that were brought forward.

Myrland says it's not the issue of more tax cheats in the population. "I don't think that the number of people cheating taxes or evading taxes is any more than what it was maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago. I just think we're better finding it and investigating it." He says the American public is still being responsible in their duties. "Around 86 percent of the population believes that you should pay your taxes and that it's wrong to cheat or evade your taxes, and that number has been pretty consistent."

One of the largest increase in prosecutions was in the area of identity theft. Nationwide, the IRS prosecuted over 1,250 individuals who were involved in identity theft crimes last year.