Although the list of activities performed by agents of the IRS are numerous, they all share a common goal: making money for the USA. Every investigation they perform has an end goal of collecting (or seizing, depending on how you see it) more money for the government than they spend in operations.
Furthermore, the IRS has become increasingly more efficient and competent in performing this task. According to Table 29 of the 2017 IRS Data Book, their ratio of money spent vs. money gathered has become smaller and smaller. In 1988, it would cost the government roughly 54 cents for every $100 dollars collected by the IRS; in 2017, that cost had been reduced to around 34 cents.
What’s impressive about this statistic is the fact that these efficiencies came about despite the IRS workforce decreasing. According to Table 30 of their Data Book, the amount of realized positions in the agency have decreased by over 10,000 from 2011. On page 4 of their 2018 criminal investigation annual report, IRS Deputy Chief Eric Hylton described this phenomenon as part of a “perfect storm” caused by “agents lost due to retirement” and a “lack of hiring over the past five years.” However, he ultimately concludes that “While we may have fewer agents, we are working bigger cases and we are working smarter.”
But what exactly are these bigger cases that Hylton is referring to? Well, there’s a great deal of them that involve a number of situations and environments, both explicitly and non-explicitly tax related.