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Tax News
FTB's criminal investigation program

Taking a bite out of the tax gap

The monthly Tax News feature Criminal Corner chronicles our ongoing efforts to uncover and halt income tax crimes. We believe publicizing some of our cases can highlight the practitioner's role in compliance, and help deter noncompliance. Our Investigations Bureau leads our criminal investigation program with strong support from our Public Affairs program, which publicizes the results of our investigations.

The mission of FTB's criminal investigation program is to:

  • Identify, investigate, and effect prosecution of tax evasion, fraud, and employee misconduct.
  • Encourage compliance with the California income tax laws.
  • Maintain the public's trust through publicity.

Our Investigations Bureau is staffed with 42 Special Agents. They maintain case inventories consisting of failure to file, and false income tax return cases; refund fraud cases, and joint task force operation cases. Joint task force operation cases can involve local, state, and/or federal agencies. Crimes typically investigated and prosecuted with income tax violations include elder abuse, identity theft, embezzlement, grand theft, money laundering, workers' compensation insurance, employment taxes and labor crimes, medical fraud, and "capping." Capping is soliciting business for another, and becomes a crime when the business objectives are fraud and deception (recruiting patients for unnecessary medical procedures, for example).

Our Special Agents are peace officers, and perform most of the duties associated with the peace officer role. They write and serve search warrants, gather and analyze evidence, interview witnesses, interrogate suspects, make recommendations to prosecute, serve arrest warrants, assist prosecutors through all stages of the prosecution, track and apprehend fugitives, and monitor terms of probation.

You can help

Here's how you can help us fulfill the mission of the criminal investigation program. Communicate our message to those you meet with throughout the day. Reassure the honest taxpayer that we support their commitment to pay their fair share, and only their fair share of the tax burden. At the same time, let those who are tempted to cheat know that we are out there enforcing the criminal income tax provisions of the Revenue and Taxation Code. We will use all available resources to identify and pursue those who cheat. You can also support our program by letting us know when you become aware of those who do not comply with the tax laws. Your efforts will help reduce the tax gap, and the tax burden on honest, compliant taxpayers. Please contact us by phone at (916) 845-4037, or by fax at (916) 845-0185.