The Tax Division was established on January 1, 1934, pursuant to an Executive Order issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Order assigned to the Attorney General responsibility for conducting litigation of all claims brought by and against the United States.
The Tax Division's mission is to enforce the nation's tax laws fully, fairly, and consistently, through both criminal and civil litigation, in order to promote voluntary compliance with the tax laws, maintain public confidence in the integrity of the tax system, and promote the sound development of the law.
The major functions of the Division are to:
- Prosecute and defend in all trial courts except the United States Tax Court civil suits arising under the internal revenue laws. These matters include tax refund suits brought against the United States, bankruptcy cases involving federal tax claims, judicial actions to enforce administrative summonses, affirmative judicial actions to effect tax collection, and tort and damages actions against the United States and/or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Justice Department officials.
- Enforce federal criminal tax law and related criminal laws by reviewing referrals from the IRS, authorizing investigation and/or prosecution where appropriate, and either conducting or supervising authorized prosecutions. Division attorneys investigate and prosecute individuals and corporations who attempt to evade taxes, willfully fail to file tax returns, submit false tax forms, and otherwise try to defraud the federal Treasury, often focusing on violations involving international activity, such as the use of offshore trusts and foreign bank accounts to evade taxes. They also investigate and prosecute tax violations that occur in the course of other criminal conduct - such as crime linked to international terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, securities fraud, bankruptcy fraud, health-care fraud, organized crime, and public corruption.
- Represent the United States in the courts of appeals in nearly all federal civil tax cases, including those appealed from the United States Tax Court, and in all federal criminal tax cases prosecuted by Tax Division attorneys. Division attorneys also supervise appeals in criminal tax cases tried by United States Attorneys’ Offices around the country.
- Advise the IRS and the Department of the Treasury concerning proposed legislation, regulations, guidance, procedures, and policy relating to taxes and tax enforcement. Division attorneys also participate in the negotiation of international tax assistance treaties and agreements.