Cases that Qualify under the IRS Whistleblower Reward Program
Information regarding a wide range of tax issues, both criminal and non-criminal in nature, may lead to a reward under the IRS Whistleblower Reward Program. A common misperception is that, in order to be entitled to a reward under this Program, you must possess information regarding tax fraud or criminal tax evasion. However, this Program is not limited to issues rising to the level of tax fraud or criminal tax evasion.
Providing information that assists the IRS in determining any type of underpayment of tax is sufficient to qualify under the Tax Whistleblower Reward Program. However, the minimum amount of tax, interest, and penalties must exceed $2,000,000. The underpayment of tax could even be from an innocent mistake, a difference of opinion as to the interpretation of the law (i.e., the “gray area of the law”), or an incorrect valuation of a piece of property. The IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) has provided the following non-exhaustive list of examples of activity, both criminal and non-criminal, for which a reward could be earned by providing information:
- Corporate Fraud
- The IRS is interested in securities fraud against shareholders and fraud committed by corporate officers against a company. Corporate fraud frequently involves violations of the Internal Revenue Code through the falsification of corporate and individual tax returns
- Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)
- Money laundering is a very complex crime involving intricate details, often involving numerous financial transactions and financial outlets throughout the world. Criminal Investigation has the financial investigators and expertise that is critical to “follow the money trail.”
- International Investigations
- International tax compliance is a top priority of the IRS. Complex international tax avoidance schemes and cross-border transactions have heightened the IRS’ concern about tax compliance. Individuals may attempt to use foreign accounts, trusts, and other entities to commit criminal violations of U.S. tax laws as well as narcotics, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations.
- General Tax Fraud
- Criminal Investigation special agents investigate violations of the tax laws and related financial crimes. Taxpayers who chose to willfully and intentionally not comply with their legal responsibility to file required tax returns and/or pay taxes pose a serious threat to tax administration and the American economy.
- Abusive Return Preparer
- Return preparer fraud generally involves the orchestrated preparation and filing of false income tax returns (in either paper or electronic form) by unscrupulous preparers who may claim, for example: inflated personal or business expenses, false deductions, unallowable credits or excessive exemptions.
- Abusive Tax Schemes
- Abusive tax scheme originally took the structure of abusive domestic and foreign trust arrangements. However, these schemes have evolved into sophisticated arrangements that take advantage of the financial secrecy laws of some foreign jurisdictions and the availability of credit/debit cards issued from offshore financial institutions.
- Non-filer Enforcement
- There have always been individuals who, for a variety of reasons, argue that taxes are voluntary or unconstitutional. The courts have repeatedly rejected their arguments as frivolous and routinely impose financial penalties for raising such frivolous arguments. In recent years, the IRS has placed a high priority on identifying these individuals
- Employment Tax Enforcement
- Employment tax evasion schemes can take a variety of forms. Some of the more prevalent methods of evasion include pyramiding, employee leasing, paying employees in cash, filing false payroll tax returns or failing to file payroll tax returns. Evading employment taxes can have serious consequences for employers and the employees.
- Fuel Excise Tax Enforcement
- Unscrupulous individuals and corporations continue to devise schemes to evade Federal and state motor fuel excise tax--revenue that is needed to maintain and improve our national transportation systems. The impact of these schemes goes far beyond the revenue loss; they have an adverse effect on the motor fuel industry by eroding the market share of legitimate dealers and even forcing some out of business.
Criminal Investigation (CI) classifies its investigations into program and emphasis areas of fraud. To read more information on CI's Involvement in a particular area, national statistics, and case summaries, please visit IRS Criminal Investigation.