On June 5, 2019, we posted IRS Whistleblower Office Collects Over $1.44 Billion & Paid a Record $312M to Tipsters where we discussed that the Internal Revenue Service’s Whistleblower Program made 217 awards to whistleblowers totaling $312,207,590 and collected $1,441,255,859 in fiscal year 2018, according to a new report. the in its 2019 Annual Report to Congress, the Whistleblower Office reported that it made 181 awards to whistleblowers totaling $120,305,278 (before sequestration), which includes 24 awards under IRC § 7623(b).
Proceeds collected were $616,773,127. Included in the proceeds collected, as a result of § 7623(c), are the non-Title 26 amounts collected for criminal fines, civil forfeitures, and violations of reporting requirements amounting to $110,003,100. Title 26 amounts collected were $506,770,027.
Whistleblower claim numbers assigned in FY 2019 decreased by 7.3 percent from those submitted in FY 2018, and closures increased by 29.8 percent.
The Tax Relief and Health Care Act (TRHCA 2006) added IRC § 7623(b), which enacted significant changes in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) award program for whistleblowers. TRHCA set a new framework for the consideration of whistleblower submissions and established the Whistleblower Office within the IRS to administer that framework. The TRHCA 2006 requires that the Secretary of the Treasury conduct an annual study and report to Congress on the use of IRC § 7623. The annual study and report to Congress includes any legislative or administrative recommendations for IRC § 7623 and its application. This report discusses the IRS Whistleblower Program activities for FY 2019 in satisfaction of the reporting obligations under the TRHCA 2006.
The Whistleblower Office coordinates with other IRS units, analyzes information submitted, and makes award determinations. If a submission does not meet the criteria for IRC § 7623(b) consideration, the Whistleblower Office may consider it for an award pursuant to its discretionary authority under IRC § 7623(a). A whistleblower must meet several conditions to qualify for the IRC § 7623(b) award program. The information must be:
- Signed and submitted under penalties of perjury,
- Related to an action in which the proceeds in dispute exceed $2,000,000, and
- Related to a taxpayer, and for individual taxpayers only, one whose gross income exceeds $200,000 for at least one of the tax years in question.
If the information meets the above conditions and substantially contributes to an administrative or judicial action that results in the collection of proceeds, the IRS will pay an award of at least 15 percent, but not more than 30 percent, of the proceeds.
The award percentage decreases for cases based principally on information disclosed in certain public sources or when the whistleblower planned and initiated the actions that led to the tax law violations. Whistleblowers may appeal the Whistleblower Office’s award determinations under IRC § 7623(b) to the United States Tax Court (Tax Court).
The IRS pays awards from proceeds, and as such, award payments cannot be made until the taxpayer has exhausted all appeal rights and the taxpayer no longer can file a claim for refund or otherwise seek to recover the proceeds from the government. Therefore, the IRS generally cannot make award payments for several years after the whistleblower has filed a claim.
Read more at: Tax Times blog