About the Law

Criminal Statutes Most Frequently Used by IRS

Over the years, Congress has enacted thousands of criminal laws. Within certain limits, this means that federal investigative agencies and prosecutors can -- and frequently do -- charge individual defendants with violating numerous different laws. A taxpayer who has sought to cheat the government can be charged with knowingly filing an incorrect return. In recent years, however, if the circumstances warrant, the same taxpayer also might be charged with money laundering. Similarly, an organized crime figure might be charged with various drug crimes, numerous organized crime and conspiracy charges and in some situations even tax violations.

During the data collection process, the Justice Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead charge" on all criminal referrals they process. Obviously, these judgements often are somewhat subjective when multiple serious violations are involved. On other occasions, the judgements may by influenced by the political needs of the moment: an administration, for example, that wants to show the public it is concentrating on such subjects as organized crime or threats to the nation's internal security.

Here then, as view through the lens of federal prosecutors across the country, are that statutes most frequently cited as being the "lead charge" in the referrals coming from the IRS. The laws are presented in the order of their statute numbers. The complete text of these frequently cited statutes can be viewed by selecting the particular law of interest in the following table.

Click on Statute to View Text

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