April 01, 1998
Grand Jury Investigations
The grand jury is an investigative process convened by a Federal
Court, and tasked with seeking information, evaluating allegations
and evidence, and determining whether criminal charges are
warranted. Evidence is presented to the grand jury by Department of
Justice special prosecutors or local U.S. Attorneys. The IRS special
agent's role in this process is to assist the grand jury in
gathering evidence of criminal violations. For the IRS special
agent, this means his or her focus will be on alleged violations of
criminal tax, money laundering and currency crimes. The special
agent assists in this process only at the direction of the
prosecuting attorney and with the concurrence of IRS management.
Frequently, grand jury investigations of financial crimes are
expanded to include potential tax or related crimes. The expertise
of the IRS special agent is utilized to conduct a full financial
investigation of this criminal conduct.
Grand Jury Secrecy
Grand jury proceedings are required to be kept secret, to
preserve the confidentiality and privacy of witnesses and targets.
Information obtained by the grand jury may be disclosed for other
purposes only with the permission of the court, and only for
specified reasons after a showing of need. All grand jury
information in the possession of the IRS is kept segregated from
other information, and the names of all personnel having access to
grand jury information are maintained on a grand jury access list
for each specific investigation.
Initiation of Grand Jury Investigations
The IRS becomes involved in grand jury investigations either by
being invited by the prosecutor to join an ongoing grand jury
investigation, or by a management decision that an IRS matter
requires investigation by a grand jury. Grand jury investigations
are a critical tool to the IRS since financial crimes increasingly
involve complex schemes perpetrated by individuals involved in a
multitude of criminal activity. This requires the expertise of many
agencies working together in a task force to effectively investigate
and prosecute the violators.
An ongoing grand jury investigation may uncover evidence of tax
offenses within IRS's investigative jurisdiction. When this occurs,
IRS agents are assigned to assist in the investigation.
Alternatively, the IRS may determine that a case requires the
investigative power of a grand jury, and recommends that such be
Recommendations to join, or to convene, a tax grand jury
investigation, require review and approval by supervisory officials
within the IRS, as well as review and approval by IRS District
Counsel attorneys and Department of Justice officials.
Tax-related prosecution recommendations made as a result of
grand jury investigations are reviewed by supervisory personnel
within IRS-CID, and are evaluated by IRS counsel attorneys. All
tax-related prosecutions are authorized by the Department of Justice
Tax Division. Non-tax-related prosecution recommendations are
reviewed by IRS supervisory personnel, and personnel in the Office
of the U.S. Attorney.
In FY-97, IRS-CI initiated 5,335 subject investigations, of
which 3,456 were pursued using the grand jury process and 1,879 via
the non-grand jury process. The 3,456 investigations initiated
utilizing the grand jury process consisted of 1,254 criminal tax
investigations and 2,202 money laundering and related violations.
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