The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation unit released an annual report Friday showing that it increased investigations, prosecutions and convictions of tax evaders and preparers last year.

Investigations initiated and prosecution recommendations were both up nearly 9 percent in fiscal 2012 compared to the prior year, according to the report. Filings of indictments and other charging documents increased 13 percent. Meanwhile, conviction and sentencing both gained approximately 12 percent from the prior year.

Initiations of criminal investigation amounted to 5,125 cases in fiscal 2012 while the number of investigations completed was 4,937, an increase of 5 percent compared to fiscal 2011. Convictions totaled 2,634 in fiscal 2012 while the conviction rate edged up slightly to 93 percent.

The IRS also investigated and prosecuted more tax preparers last fiscal year. It initiated 443 investigations in fiscal 2012, up from 371 in fiscal 2011. There were 276 prosecution recommendations in fiscal 2012, an increase from 233 in fiscal 2011. Sentencings rose to 172 in fiscal 2012 from 163 in fiscal 2011.

The 28-page report summarizes a wide variety of IRS CI activity on a range of tax-related issues during the year ending Sept. 30, 2012.

“The key to our successes is perseverance and dedication to working complex financial investigations aimed at stopping tax fraud, identity theft, offshore tax evasion, public corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes,” said IRS Chief of Criminal Investigation Richard Weber in a statement. “This annual report showcases some of the many significant cases that were completed by CI during fiscal year 2012 and the many program areas we cover as an organization. These cases are just a few examples of the thousands of investigations initiated by CI last year, as we continue to make our mark as the finest financial investigators in the world.”

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