The mission of the Criminal Investigation Division is to deter intentional criminal conduct against the state tax laws administered by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. This deterrence is achieved by detecting and investigating felony and misdemeanor tax-related crimes, and by informing the public of the results of case prosecution.
Tax revenue makes up a large part of our state government's income. In fiscal 2012, the Comptroller of Public Accounts collected over $44 billion in state taxes, an amount representing more than 46 percent of the state's total net revenue in that year. It is the statutory duty of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to collect state taxes defined by the Texas Legislature in Title 2 of the Texas Tax Code. See Tax Code 111.001
Voluntary state tax compliance is vital to the well-being of our state and its programs, and the overwhelming majority of individuals and businesses pay their fair share of state taxes voluntarily. A few, however, resort to criminal activity to avoid this responsibility.
Tax-related crime creates an uneven playing field for businesses, putting honest and law-abiding companies at a competitive disadvantage. And it harms all Texans by diverting funds that support important government services such as education and public safety.
CID’s work lets all citizens know that such crime will not be tolerated, and that the state will seek to hold offenders accountable. By publicizing the results of our investigations, we seek to deter individuals and businesses from similar conduct.
The Criminal Investigation Division combines specialized financial investigators with traditional law enforcement to detect and prosecute individuals and business entities that are committing tax-related crimes.
The strength of our staff lies in our experience investigating complex criminal organizations, in tax and other contexts. Our staff includes former organized crime, major narcotics and major crimes detectives from law enforcement agencies all across the state; peace officers with backgrounds in the financial industries as well as CPA and audit credentials; attorneys with state tax and criminal prosecution expertise; and award-winning crime analysts. Our diverse backgrounds allow us to investigate tax-related crime thoroughly, from a variety of perspectives.
CID has statewide jurisdiction supported by investigators based out of our Austin headquarters, as well as Comptroller regional field offices in Abilene, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, Odessa, San Antonio, Tyler and Wichita Falls.
Role of Audit and Enforcement Units
The Comptroller’s Audit Division conducts financial examinations of taxpayers’ books and records to determine whether or not state taxes are owed. If taxes are owed and unpaid, the Enforcement Division will assist in their collection. If an audit uncovers evidence suggesting that a crime may have been committed, the Audit Division will refer the case to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). A referral from the Audit Division is one of many ways CID receives a case. For more information, see Case Sources.
The Criminal Investigation Division began in 1986 as the Tax Fraud Unit within the Comptroller’s Audit Division. Unit investigators pursued civil and criminal tax compliance for all state taxes except the cigarette and tobacco taxes, which were at that time handled by the State Treasury, then a separate state agency.
In 1992, the Tax Fraud Unit was elevated into a separate division within the Comptroller’s office, acquiring its current name. In 1994, through agreement with the Treasury, CID assumed investigative responsibilities for all cigarette and tobacco tax cases, and continued these duties after the Treasury merged with the Comptroller’s office in 1996.
In 2001, the Legislature gave the Comptroller the authority to commission its investigators as peace officers. CID investigators earned licenses from the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, while the division began hiring experienced peace officers from law enforcement agencies all across the state.
The Criminal Investigation Division places high value on teaming experienced traditional law enforcement with peace officers with financial industry credentials. The combined talents and capabilities of our staff allow us to carry out our mission efficiently and effectively for the benefit of all Texans.