(FreedomBeacon.com)- It’s no secret that finances are changing around the world, and that’s causing financial agencies such as the IRS to significantly alter how they operate.
Criminal activity around finances has becoming increasingly complex in recent years as finances have become more complex, too. And this has caused a significant shortage at the IRS, as the agency tries to keep up with digital financial crimes tied to things such as cryptocurrency.
Traditionally speaking, the IRS spends roughly 75% of its total manpower on investigating taxes. That’s shifted in recent years to areas such as cryptocurrency.
As Jarod Koopman, who serves on the criminal investigation unit for the IRS, said:
“Gone are the simple days of a person sending a transaction through a single bank account. That was easy to uncover: Gain records from the bank. Now, it’s a very complicated web of sophisticated criminals trying to move money globally.”
In the last fiscal year, the IRS’ criminal investigation unit identified a whopping $3.5 billion in stolen cryptocurrency. In this fiscal year, that amount has already been exceeded.
The cryptocurrency team used to have only 10 people on it, but now it has 70. Unfortunately, that growth in numbers isn’t due to expanded hiring, but instead to shifting resources from other priorities at the agency.
The IRS’ criminal investigations team is also responsible for things such as tracking down the finances of Russian oligarchs who are being subject to America’s sanctions on them.
With so many different angles to chase, the IRS is running thin on resources. Officials at the agency say that if they aren’t given more money from the federal government, they won’t be able to put a stop to the illegal activity or even serve as a potential deterrent.
They warn that this will inevitably lead to increased criminal activity at a time when cryptocurrency and digital assets are becoming more popular and more accessible.
In a little more than the last 10 years, the IRS has lost roughly a quarter of its workforce. There are fewer than 3,000 workers at the IRS today, in fact.
In that same timeframe, the IRS has experienced a 20% drop in its overall budget. Political efforts to increase that funding have been met with staunch opposition in recent years, too.
What the Treasury Department is requesting to fix the problem is a 40% increase in the IRS workforce in the next five years. This, the department says, will help the agency meet the increasing demands on it.
Natasha Sarin, who works for the Treasury Department, recently explained:
“When you think of the deterrence effects of having a meaningful CI presence that’s able to investigate some of these really sophisticated financial criminals, this is clearly an area of substantial need.”
The Biden administration include a 10% increase in the IRS budget, the largest such increase in the last 20 years. But, the IRS is still pushing for an addition $80 billion, an effort that has gone nowhere as of yet.