Bipartisan Budget Act Enhances Whistleblower Awards
The recently enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 includes two important provisions favoring whistleblower awards in tax avoidance whistleblower cases, False Claims Act cases, and securities fraud whistleblower cases. The San Francisco County and California whistleblower/qui tam attorneys at Evans Law Firm represent whistleblowers in all these types of cases: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cases and cases brought under the False Claims Act or for securities fraud. We want to share the Bipartisan Budget Act whistleblower provisions with you. If you or a loved one has credible information regarding offshore tax avoidance schemes or other tax fraud, False Claims Act violations or securities fraud, please call the whistleblower/qui tam attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. (415)441-8669, and we can help.
The first whistleblower provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act allows for a full deduction of attorneys’ fees and costs paid by or on behalf of the whistleblower in connection with the whistleblower action. While the award the whistleblower receives is taxable, the attorneys’ fees and costs attributable to the matter are fully deductible by the whistleblower on his or her tax return. The deduction applies to attorneys’ fees and costs in IRS whistleblower cases, False Claims Act cases, and securities fraud whistleblower cases before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The second provision expands the base for calculating an IRS whistleblower award to include criminal fines and penalties and FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) penalties for violations of the IRS reporting laws concerning foreign accounts. FBAR penalties are imposed where the taxpayer is guilty of offshore tax avoidance schemes by using unreported foreign accounts to secrete money for U.S. taxation. The new provision clarifies an ambiguity in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) as to whether criminal penalties were to be included in determining the base on which whistleblower awards were calculated.
Whistleblowers will see significant gains through these enhancement of whistleblower awards. Whistleblower awards have grown dramatically over the past few years. The IRS paid out close to $34 million in whistleblower awards in fiscal 2017 alone. The SEC and CFTC have paid out more than $160 million in whistleblower awards since the passage of Dodd-Frank.
What Whistleblower Cases Look Like
IRS, SEC, and CFTC whistleblower cases are complex and take a long time from initial application through investigation and discovery to resolution. Any whistleblower with credible information of a large tax avoidance scheme should seek counsel to pursue his or her case. While the potential awards are very significant, government agencies demand hard evidence of the fraud and will closely examine whether the whistleblower truly has original, solid documentation of the alleged fraud. A hunch or suspicion of fraud is not enough. If the IRS, SEC or CFTC is persuaded a whistleblower has hard evidence of fraud, the relevant agency may assist by sharing confidential tax information. We at Evans Law Firm know what the government looks for in investigating and prosecuting securities fraud and offshore tax avoidance schemes and can sift through the evidence you have to determine the best way to proceed with an application.
If you have information regarding tax fraud or offshore tax avoidance schemes, False Claims Act cases or SEC and CFTC securities fraud cases, and are looking to be a whistleblower in San Francisco County or in any California county, contact Ingrid Evans and the other IRS and SEC and CFTC whistleblower and fraud attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex qui tam or whistleblower cases, including IRS tax avoidance cases and SEC and CFTC securities fraud cases. We can help guide your case through application, investigation and discovery and trial or toward settlement. We also handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.