Washington, D.C. November 30, 2015. A Government Accountability Office Report issued today confirmed that the IRS Whistleblower Office has made 500 awards to whistleblowers amounting to over $315 million in claims paid since 2011. A copy of the GAO Report is linked here.
According to the report, the IRS currently has 30,152 open claims, which, if investigated, could result in the recovery of hundreds of billions of dollars from tax cheats. The GAO found that “Individuals who report on the under payment of taxes . . .potentially helped the IRS collect billions of tax revenue that may otherwise go undetected.”
Stephen M. Kohn, who successfully represented Swiss Bank whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld and who serves as the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, stated as follows:
“The IRS is making important progress in its whistleblower program and the payment of over 500 claims demonstrates a growing commitment to the success of the program.
“More needs to be done. Thousand of whistleblowers have filed credible information about tax fraud. Many of these cases need to be fully investigated. The IRS needs to dedicate far more resources to its whistleblower program in order to enforce the law and ensure that everyone pays their fair share.
“As we have seen in the Bradley Birkenfeld Swiss Bank case, whistleblower disclosures were critical in breaking the back of secret Swiss banking and can have an incredibly positive impact on insuring compliance with the law.”
Dean Zerbe, who also represented Mr. Birkenfeld and serves as the NWC’s Senior Policy Analyst, said:
“The GAO report makes clear that the IRS whistleblower program is extremely effective at going after big-time tax cheats – with $1 dollar of reward bringing in $6 dollars of additional tax dollars paid by tax cheats. However, the GAO report should serve as a big wake-up call to the IRS and the administration that they need to take steps now to ensure the success of the IRS whistleblower program continues.”
The GAO made ten recommendations to improve the program, including provisions to ensure that tax whistleblowers are not subject to retaliation.