IRS gets tougher, even as it tries to be more taxpayer-friendly

For most taxpayers still polishing their returns, these final hours before tonight’s filing deadline are a time to review receipts, pore over forms and add up the numbers.

But for others, the time will be spent altering documents, forging signatures, maybe even moving money between offshore accounts in an effort to cheat Uncle Sam out of tax revenue. By some estimates, tax evasion is costing the federal government about $300 billion annually.

With so much money unaccounted for, the Internal Revenue Service — despite its recent public efforts to be friendlier and more responsive to the average taxpayer — is in no mood to back down from those trying to game the system.

Indeed, the agency has ratcheted up enforcement in a big way, hiring more investigators and often calling in its elite squad of forensics experts to conduct ink and handwriting analyses to crack a case.

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