Whistleblowers who provide information about tax fraud or tax underpayments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will get a bigger reward as a result of a recent law passed by Congress.
The whistleblower reward section of the Tax Relief and Health Act of 2006 is modeled after the reward section of the False Claim’s Act qui tam provisions.
What whistleblowers who report tax fraud can expect
The new tax fraud whistleblower law establishes certain provisions regarding whistleblowers who provide the IRS with information about tax fraud or tax underpayments:
- Whistleblowers may receive a reward of 15 percent to 30 percent of the amount the IRS collects as a result of information about tax fraud provided to the IRS.
- To qualify, the whistleblowers must provide information about tax fraud or tax underpayments that exceeds $2 million (counting tax, penalties and interest).
- The annual income of an individual tax cheat must exceed $200,000.
- If a reward from the IRS fails to recognize the whistleblower’s contribution, the whistleblower may appeal the reward amount to the U.S. Tax Court.
- If the whistleblower initiated or planned the tax fraud, the IRS may reduce or deny a reward. A whistleblower reward also may be reduced if the whistleblower’s allegations have been previously disclosed.
Whistleblowers are still covered by the previous existing law for confidential informants to the IRS:
- The IRS will keep the whistleblower’s identity confidential.
- The IRS pays rewards after it completes an investigation into the tax fraud or tax underpayments, collects all amounts owed in the case and the matter officially is closed.
Before the new tax whistleblower law was enacted in December 2006, the IRS rarely paid rewards to tax fraud informants, and the rewards paid were small: just 1 percent to 15 percent of the amount the IRS recovered.
The new tax whistleblower law "will give a lot of encouragement for people to step forward who otherwise wouldn't," attorney John R. Phillips of Phillips & Cohen said in a Wall Street Journal article about the new whistleblower law.
Attorney Erika A. Kelton of Phillips & Cohen told “Marketplace,” a business news show broadcast by National Public Radio, that the new law “should pay whistleblowers handsomely, too.”
If you have information about tax fraud that exceeds $2 million and would like to know how Phillips & Cohen can help you with your case and the IRS, please fill out our tax fraud case evaluation form. This is the fastest way to get a detailed response. You may also email or call us.