179 Payments Total Over $36 Million
Whistleblowers Collected $245 Million For Government
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Office recently released in its annual report for Fiscal Year 2021. During 2021, the IRS made 179 award payments to whistleblowers totaling $36,144,926, according to the office’s annual report. The proceeds collected from the Whistleblower Program were $245,303,646, which is down considerably from the record $1.44 billion recovered in FY 2018. According to the report, “[w]histleblower claim numbers assigned in FY 2021 grew by 55 percent year over year, the second highest level of new claim numbers in the history of the program and claim closures also increased by 13 percent.” The annual report also describes how long IRS whistleblower cases may take. In FY 2021, the “average years from claim receipt to award payment” average out to almost ten years. The report also contains information about the types of allegations that the whistleblower claims submitted on Form 211 (the form that initiates a whistleblower case). The information shows that “Unreported Income” is the most common allegation, followed by “General Allegations of Fraud, Tax Fraud, Wire Fraud, Insurance Fraud, Etc.,” “False Dependent Exemptions,” and “Employee vs. Subcontractor.” If you have credible information of tax fraud in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Becoming an IRS Whistleblower and Obtaining Whistleblower Awards
The IRS program sets forth a detailed procedure for submitting whistleblower information. Individuals start a case by submitting a Form 211 “Application for Award for Original Information” under penalty of perjury. A whistleblower may not bring an independent action if the IRS decides not to pursue an action. However, the whistleblower may be eligible for an award if the IRS does successfully pursue a judicial or administrative action based upon the information submitted. Where the collected proceeds exceed $2 million or, if the taxpayer is an individual and their gross income exceeds $200,000, the IRS is required to pay an award to the whistleblower, provided other statutory qualifications are met. The range of such an award is typically between 15 percent and 30 percent of the amount collected.
Protections Against Retaliation
As with the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., and other whistleblower programs, the IRS specifically prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers, since passage of the Taxpayer First Act in 2019. Employers and their officers, employees, contractors, subcontractors and agents are prohibited from retaliating against whistleblowers who report information regarding potential tax fraud internally or to the appropriate government authorities. Potential retaliatory actions include an employer’s decision to “discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or in any other manner discriminate against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.”
A tax whistleblower who suffers such retaliation must file their complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) no later than 180 days after the violation occurred. If the Secretary of Labor has not issued a final decision within 180 days of the filing of the complaint, and there is no showing that such delay is due to the bad faith of the claimant, then the employee may file suit in federal court. If successful before OSHA or the court, the employee is entitled to all relief necessary to make them whole, including reinstatement with the same seniority status that they would have had, but for the reprisal; 200% of the amount of back pay, with interest; 100% of all lost benefits, with interest; and any special damages sustained as a result of the reprisal, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and attorney fees.
Ingrid M. Evans represents individuals in San Francisco and throughout California with credible, original information of any kind of tax fraud, including offshore tax avoidance measures, and use of foreign corporations and accounts to avoid taxation or the like. Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid can also represent individuals who have been retaliated against for blowing the whistle on tax fraud.