The Internal Revenue Service’s Whistleblower Program collected a record-breaking $1.4 billion in taxes, penalties and interest in 2018, up from $190 million the previous year, with whistleblowers getting $312 million in awards — a big jump from $33 million in 2017 awards.
The data, which comes from the IRS Whistleblower Program’s 2018 annual report to Congress, proves the “IRS program is now working and working remarkably well,” said Stephen Kohn of the whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto.
Whistleblowers that Kohn and Dean Zerbe of Zerbe, Miller, Fingeret, Frank & Jadav represent as co-counsels account for nearly $725 million of the tax dollars brought into the Treasury through the whistleblower program last year, Kohn said, with KKC clients receiving $158 million of the $312 million in awards announced by the IRS.
The IRS recently issued two award letters totaling $88 million to whistleblowers that are represented by one or both law firms, Zerbe points out. That total includes an award of more than $62 million to a group of “courageous whistleblowers who exposed significant corporate tax evasion,” the largest tax whistleblower award ever reported for a group whistleblower filing.
The award resulted in over $400 million in taxes and interest recovered by the Treasury, he added.
The modern IRS whistleblower award law (Section 7623(b) of the Internal Revenue Code) was created in 2006 and championed by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who’s now chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.