The Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force is a pilot program facilitated by California Assembly Bill 576, Revenue Recovery and Collaborative Enforcement Team Act. TRaCE joins existing state and federal resources to collaboratively combat illegal business activities that rob California of public funds and its citizens of public services.
The Task Force is comprised of investigators and special agents from multiple agencies working together to investigate, prosecute and recover revenue lost to the underground economy.
What is the Underground Economy?
“Underground Economy” is a term that refers to those individuals and businesses that deal in cash and/or use other schemes to conceal their activities, identities and true tax liability from government licensing, regulatory, and taxing agencies.
The State of California loses billions of dollars to the underground economy. Fraud and tax evasion most often occur in cash-driven businesses such as bars, restaurants, used car dealerships, and construction, but is also common in businesses selling counterfeit products and in the tobacco industry.
Tax evasion hurts California's economy as legitimate businesses are confronted with unfair competition, funding for public resources are lost, and employees are forced to work in conditions without basic protections or may even lose their jobs.
Why Should I Care?
Whether you know it or not, the underground economy affects you directly or indirectly. The people who operate in the underground economy are taking money out of your pocket.
Illegal underground economy activities often fund organized crime which can impact your local community.
Dollars generated from illegal underground activities have been tracked to terrorist organizations.
When you buy black-market drugs, your health is threatened from unsafe products.
When you pay for services "under the table" you may be supporting human trafficking—modern-day slavery, it ends with us.
When you buy knock-off merchandise, you get an inferior product and support those who steal ideas of designers and take jobs from workers that manufacture legitimate products.
When you buy a pirated DVD, it hurts every job in the movie industry from actors to ticket takers, and could ultimately affect the price of your movie ticket.
What Can I Do?
California has created the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement Task Force (TRaCE) to combat the underground economy and recover tax revenues that fund your public services.
You can help by reporting criminal tax evasion, piracy, counterfeiting, human trafficking and other crimes by clicking on the “Report a Crime” tab above. You can find more information about the TRaCE Task Force by clicking on the other tabs.
Board of Equalization
Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Department of Justice
Department of Motor Vehicles
Employment Development Department
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Franchise Tax Board
Homeland Security Investigations
Internal Revenue Service
Santa Ana Police Department
TRaCE Executive Board
The TRaCE Task Force is directed by an advisory council known as the TRaCE Task Force Executive Board. The TRaCE Executive Board is comprised of public officials from the Department of Justice, Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Employment Development Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service.
The TRaCE Executive Board holds monthly public meetings in the Sacramento region to discuss policies and operating procedures. These meetings are coordinated by the TRaCE Executive Board Chairperson, who is elected by member agencies. The TRaCE Executive Board reviews and evaluates the TRaCE Task Force operations, goals, objectives, policies and procedures.
The mission of the TRaCE Task Force is to combat organized elements of the underground economy engaged in the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of pirated intellectual property, and other economic crimes resulting in the evasion of business, payroll and/or income taxes.
Improve the health of California's economy by combating organized criminal activity.
Leverage enforcement efforts from pooled investigative resources.
Collaborate and share data with state and federal agencies to identify fraud and unreported or underreported economic activity.
Provide a quick response to organized criminal economic activities that defraud consumers, businesses, and the state.
Prosecute cross-program violations as one case to fully capture the severity of the crimes and impose stiffer penalties on violators convicted.
TRaCE Community Partners
The following are just a few of the organizations that will be working with TRaCE to help combat various elements of the underground economy:
BSA, The Software Alliance
California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce
California Black Chamber of Commerce
California District Attorneys Association
California Highway Patrol
California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
California Hotel & Lodging Association
California Labor Federation
California Manufacturing and Technologies Association
California Medical Association
California Organized Retail Crimes Association
California Police Chief's Association
California Restaurant Association
California Retailers Association
California Sheriff's Association
California State Chamber of Commerce
California Workforce Association
California Workforce Investment Board
Congressman John Garamendi
Congressman Kevin McCarthy
Counterfeit Report (The)
Executive Office of the President, U.S. IP Enforcement Coordinator
Foundation for Fair Contracting
Greater Sacramento Urban League
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
International Anti-Counterfeit Coalition
Labor Compliance Coalition – Los Angeles Public Works
Los Angeles Business Improvement District
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Los Angeles Fashion District
Los Angeles Police Department
Mid-Valley Building & Construction Trades Council
My Sister's House
Napa-Solano Building & Construction Trades Council
Napa-Solano Central Labor Council
National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center
Northern California Auto Dismantlers Association
Northern California Restaurant Association
Orange County Business Council
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce
Sacramento Police Department
Sacramento-Sierra Building & Construction Trades Council
San Diego Police Department
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
San Francisco Police Department
Santa Ana Police Department
Senator Orrin Hatch
Senator Richard Pan
Software & Information Industry Assoc.
Stockton Police Department
West Sacramento Police Department
Western Steel Council
Yolo County & Golden-Sierra Workforce Investment Board
If this is an emergency or crime in progress, please call 911.
Report a Crime
The TRaCE Task Force investigates crimes affecting multiple agencies. You can report criminal tax evasion, piracy, counterfeiting, human trafficking and other crimes by clicking on the “Report a Crime Online” button below or you can complete a printed complaint form (click on “Report a Crime by Mail”) and mail it to the address shown on the form. You can also report a crime by calling 1-855-234-9949 if you prefer to talk to a live person.
By reporting these illegal activities you help promote a unified front in reducing the underground economy that places an unfair burden on you and honest California businesses. Don't be a victim, report the crime!
Did You Know?
An estimated $8.5 billion in owed corporate,
personal income, and sales and use taxes goes
uncollected in California each year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of information is helpful to include when reporting a crime?
Please include the following details about the person or business if available:
Spouse's or registered domestic partner's name
Alleged criminal violation(s)
How you became aware of the alleged violation
Availability of supporting documents
Location of assets (cash, vehicles, property) involved in the crime
Banking or financial Information related to the crime
Your contact information (optional)
Can the person I am reporting find out my identity?
No. We treat any information you provide as confidential unless compelled by law to do otherwise.
After I provide information to TRaCE, can I receive updates on the investigation?
No. Privacy and disclosure laws prohibit TRaCE from sharing information whether action is taken or not.
If TRaCE uses the information for tax recovery, will I receive a reward?
No. TRaCE does not offer rewards for informant information.
How do I know if you received my online referral report?
If your online submission is successful, you will receive a reference number. Please keep the number or print the confirmation page as you will need to refer to this number if you want to provide additional information or documents any time after your original report was submitted.
Will I be able to view or print the information that I have submitted online?
Yes, you can view or print a PDF of the information submitted; however, Adobe Reader is required. Click on the Adobe icon to download the free Reader.
Where do I send supporting documents?
You can attach documents, files or pictures by selecting the browser button on the online form. You can also mail the information to TRaCE, P.O. Box 942879, MIC: 100, Sacramento, CA 95814-0100. Please include your reference number with the documentation.
Can I report a crime and remain anonymous?
Yes. The TRaCE Task Force will investigate all complaints, whether anonymous or not.
What happens to the information that I provide?
Any information that you provide will be evaluated, and if it is not within TRaCE's jurisdiction, it may be shared with the appropriate local, state, or federal agency.