Whistleblower Program

What is the IRS Tax Whistleblower Program?

Whistleblower Process and Pitfalls

Whistleblower Confidentiality and Importance of Counsel

The IRS Tax Whistleblower Program: Part I, Whistleblower Awards

In 2012, Swiss bank whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld received a record-breaking $104 million award from the IRS for helping uncover widespread U.S. tax fraud by Swiss bank UBS and numerous wealthy Americans.

Most tax whistleblowers will never see anything close to the award received by Birkenfeld, who is widely credited with lifting the veil of Swiss banking secrecy and whose information brought more than $5 billion in unpaid taxes from individuals and banks into the IRS coffers.

Cash awards to whistleblowers

The IRS is authorized to pay private citizens for information leading to the collection of underpayment of taxes and for identifying individuals guilty of tax evasion. There are two types of awards:

A reward may also be paid if the information provided leads to the denial of a claim for a refund that otherwise would have been paid.

Appeals

A Section 7623(b) whistleblower may appeal their award (or denial of their award) in U.S. Tax Court. There is no opportunity for appeal for Section 7623(a) informants.

Program results

In its 2013 annual report, the IRS Whistleblower Office reported that following collections of more than $367 million that year alone, it paid out awards to 122 whistleblowers totaling $53 million, an average of $435,000 per person.

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