I hate paying taxes. I know, intellectually, all the good that our tax dollars do for this great Country, but it still is hard to swallow paying a huge chunk of change to the government. But I do it. So, what do I hate worse then paying taxes? Tax dodgers!
Well, if you also hate tax dodgers, then your life is about to get more rewarding.
President Bush is about to authorize a new Internal Revenue Service rule directing the service to pay greater rewards to informants who report tax cheats on large amounts of taxes due. The new reward can rise to 30% of whatever the government collects. The idea is to provide some significant incentives for people to tattletale on people or businesses who cheat the government out of money. The IRS hopes to reduce what they call the tax gap. The Tax Gap is the gap between what the IRS should actually collect and what people actually send in. That Gap is almost $300 BILLION dollars.
The government makes billions of dollars on whistleblower cases. In the past, very little of the tax dollars the IRS collects come from whistleblower cases. In whistleblower cases the government will pays the whistleblower a percentage fee between 10% and 24%. The new regulation will allow the IRS pay the whistleblower up to 30%. The extra percent can lead to millions of extra dollars being paid to the whistleblower.
The new law really applies to information, which involves businesses, which are not paying their taxes. It can apply to individuals, but only if the person’s annual gross income is above $200,000.00. The information must lead to a minimum of $2,000,000.00 in tax collection including any penalties and interest. The new law sets the reward floor at 15% and the ceiling at 30% of all the collected taxes, including penalties and interest.
So why don’t people take more advantage of this law? Well that is because, even with the changes and new IRS attitude toward Whistleblowers, the truth is that the government will do everything it can to avoid paying the whistleblower. The government attorneys will say that the whistleblower provided no useful information or worse, that the information was public knowledge. If they can prove the information was public before the whistleblower turned it over to the government they can cut the whistleblower out of any recovery.
Regardless, if you hate that son of a gun down the street who is driving a Bentley on tax dollars, which should be a part of the public kitty, then call your friendly local Qui Tam attorney and start a whistleblower claim against the jerk. You may be able to pick up that Bentley on the cheap real soon.
Brian F. LaBovick, Esq.
Sec. 406. Whistleblower reforms. Present law authorizes the IRS to pay such sums as deemed necessary for: (1) detecting underpayments of tax; and (2) detecting and bringing to trial and punishing persons guilty of violating the internal revenue laws or conniving at the same. Amounts are paid based on a percentage of the tax, fines, and penalties (but not interest) actually collected based on the information provided. The provision reforms the reward program for individuals who provide information regarding violations of the tax laws to the Secretary that involve an individual whose gross income exceeds $200,000 for any taxable year subject to such action and that involves tax, penalties, and interest of over $2 million. Generally, the provision establishes a reward floor of 15% and a cap of 30% of the collected proceeds (including penalties, interest, additions to tax and additional amounts) if the IRS moves forward with an administrative or judicial action based on information brought to the IRS's attention by an individual. Under certain specified circumstances, the provision permits awards of lesser amounts. The provision allows an above-the-line deduction for attorneys' fees and costs paid by, or on behalf of, the individual in connection with any award or providing information regarding violations of the tax laws. The provision allows the whistleblower to appeal the award determination with the Tax Court. The provision also creates a Whistleblower Office within the IRS to administer the reward program. The provision requires a yearly study and report by the Secretary of the Treasury. The provision is effective for information provided on or after the date of enactment. The provision is estimated to raise $32 million over five years and $182 million over ten years.