According to the Associated Press the number of criminal investigations by the IRS is increasing. In the year 2007 the Justice Department prosecuted more tax criminal cases than any other year since 1998, gaining a conviction nearly 50% of the time. The conviction rate refers only to those cases that went to conclusion at trial and does not include those that came to an agreement with the government before the trial came to an end. Also included in the report were fraudulent refund claims by taxpayers, an indicator that IRS criminal investigations are expanding well beyond the financial and narcotics crimes of the notable past. It might come as a surprise to some taxpayers that IRS criminal investigations of financial and narcotics crimes, the ones that make the evening news, are really not considered "common" criminal tax offenses. The IRS is making it known they are back in the enforcement business and taxpayers need to be alerted to the more common tax offenses that carry the additional possibility of criminal prosecution.