Whistleblowers helped the IRS collect more than $1.4 billion in criminal fines, civil forfeitures, and reporting violations in fiscal year 2018, according to an agency report released Wednesday.
Of that record amount, more than $300 million went to whistleblowers – an average of 21.7 percent of proceeds collected. That’s an increase from fiscal year 2017, when the average reward was 17 percent.
It was a record setting year in proceeds collected and award amounts paid, according to Lee D. Martin, director of the IRS Whistleblower Office. Since 2007, the program has made more than $800 million in whistleblower awards based on the collection of $5 billion.
In a written statement, Stephen M. Kohn, president of the National Whistleblower Center, called the report “the best news of the year for whistleblowers.” The IRS program is now working well, he wrote. “Whistleblowers who witness tax frauds will be encouraged to take the risk, and report the crimes. This is game changing.”
Here’s how Dean Zerbe of Forbes describes the impact:
Honest, hard-working taxpayers should be joyous with the news…The news that whistleblowers are being awarded should give serious pause to those who have undeclared accounts; undeclared income; or have signed on to corporate tax shelters. Now is the time to get right with the taxman.