Understanding the Role and Function of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

How does the IRS investigate tax fraud and evasion cases?

When it comes to taxes in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the agency that comes to mind. The IRS is a federal agency responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing tax laws in the country. Understanding the role and function of the IRS is important as it affects every individual and business entity in the United States.

Key Functions of the IRS

Tax Collection

The primary function of the IRS is to collect taxes from individuals and business entities through various means such as income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax, estate tax, and gift tax. The IRS is responsible for ensuring that taxes are paid on time and penalties are imposed on individuals who fail to comply with tax laws.

Taxpayer Services

The IRS provides a range of taxpayer services that include assistance in filling tax returns, answering tax-related queries, providing information on tax laws and regulations, and offering various tools and calculators to help taxpayers calculate tax obligations and deductions.

Enforcement of Tax Laws

The IRS is also responsible for enforcing tax laws in the United States. The agency is authorized to investigate and prosecute cases of tax fraud and evasion, impose penalties on individuals and businesses for non-compliance, and conduct audits and examinations to ensure that taxpayers are complying with tax regulations.

Structure of the IRS

The IRS is a large organization with a complex structure. The agency has headquarters in Washington DC and is divided into four primary divisions:

  1. Small Business/Self-Employed Division
  2. Large Business and International Division
  3. Wage and Investment Division
  4. Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division

Challenges Faced by the IRS

The IRS faces several challenges, including:

  • Budget Constraints: The IRS has been facing budget cuts, leading to a decrease in the number of employees and resources available to enforce tax laws and provide taxpayer services.
  • Technology: The IRS has been criticized for not keeping up with technological advances and not implementing efficient systems to process tax returns and payments.
  • Identity Theft: The IRS has been struggling to combat identity theft and refund fraud, which has been on the rise in recent years.


The IRS plays a vital role in the United States’ tax system and has a significant impact on individuals, businesses, and the government. Understanding the role and function of the IRS is necessary to ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations, take advantage of tax benefits, and use the services provided by the agency effectively.

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