- Days left

Tax Cheat Whistleblowers Get Their Rewards Trimmed

×
cheat on taxes and get arrested
Getty Images
The IRS still wants your help reporting tax cheats, and they're willing to pay you for it. Now, though, you won't find it quite as rewarding.

Because of the automatic spending cuts that took effect earlier this month, the IRS has had to reduce the amount that it pays under its whistleblower program. With the cuts, whistleblowers who report tax abuse in cases where the IRS successfully collects taxes from violators will see their awards reduced by 8.7 percent.

Bounty Program Catching On

The idea behind the IRS whistleblower program was to give people a financial incentive to help produce information that helps the agency catch people with unpaid tax liability. Under the program, the person who reports the tax abuse can get as much as 30 percent of what the IRS collects in taxes, interest, and penalties.

The whistleblower program was slow to get off the ground, but activity picked up considerably last year.

For the fiscal years from 2008 to 2011, the program received more than 24,000 cases and made more than 500 awards to whistleblowers, but the amounts paid were relatively modest, totaling less than $55 million.

During fiscal 2012, however, 128 awards totaling more than $125 million were paid, though that includes one high-profile case that paid $104 million to whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld for helping the IRS catch violators who had put money in Swiss bank accounts to try to escape taxation.

Big Cheats = Bigger Payouts

Before you get too excited about your chances of collecting a payout, though, understand that the rules governing awards are designed to reward citizen-snitches only if the cases involve high-enough dollar amounts to justify the IRS trying to catch the crooks.

Tax cases involving $2 million or more are eligible for payouts between 15 percent and 30 percent, but smaller cases have a maximum of 15 percent and are made at the IRS's discretion.

You can read more about the IRS Whistleblower program at its website.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Retirement Funds

Target date funds help you maintain a long term portfolio.

View Course »

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Rental Property Deductions You Can Take at Tax Time

Rental property often offers larger deductions and tax benefits than most investments. Many of these are overlooked by landlords at tax time. This can make a difference in making a profit or losing money on your real estate venture. If you own a rental property, the IRS allows you to deduct expenses you pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, conserving and managing the property, and other expenses deemed necessary and associated with property rental.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

2 Comments

Filter by:
unknown_individual

The 8.7% decrease will be used to fund more drone attacks on innocent women and children in overseas locations. The program will be coming to a town near you, after they disarm American citizens.

March 19 2013 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rrusrjr2

So, setting the whistleblower minimum at $2 million likely means I can't turn in all those hundreds of Obama staffers recently reported to be in tax arrears to the tune of hundreds of millions? Can't separate individual Obama staff crooks because of the $2 million minimum? Damn.

March 19 2013 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply