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With foreclosures, gas prices, and credit card default rates all on the rise, a lot of people are looking for ways to earn extra cash.

Normally you don't think of the IRS as a way to make money, but there may be an exception: If your boss or someone else you know is cheating on taxes and you feel like tattling, you could make a lot of money. The Associated Press reports that since Congress beefed up rewards for whistle blowers on tax cheats, reports of tax hanky panky are on the rise: The agency received tips on 1,246 suspected tax dodgers in 2008, each owing more than $2 million. That's a huge jump from the 116 tips received in 2007.

According to the IRS, "The law provides for two types of awards. If the taxes, penalties, interest and other amounts in dispute exceed $2 million, and a few other qualifications are met, the IRS will pay 15% to 30% of the amount collected. If the case deals with an individual, his or her annual gross income must be more than $200,000."

If you want to file a whistleblower report, use this form (PDF file).

And now a quick word for employers out there: Don't cheat on your taxes. Of course it's unethical and could land you in serious trouble but, more immediately, it could make you very vulnerable to blackmail. You're the boss and you don't want to end up working for your employees. If you cheat on your taxes and your employees know -- and they hear about the whistleblower program -- you could end up in a very awkward situation that could ruin your business regardless of whether the IRS comes crashing in.

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