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New IRS Task Force — Could This Mean More Whistleblower Awards?

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The Wall Street Journal shared news that the IRS is forming a new task force within its criminal investigations unit. The team of 10 agents will be solely focused on international tax enforcement.

They are assembling experts who will follow the funds of financial criminals and tax cheats, no matter where they are in the world. 50 percent of the team will be based out of Washington, D.C., with the remaining members in various offices around the United States.

International tax investigators have played an important role in recent U.S. corruption cases, including an investigation of Switzerland banks who were caught helping American tax evaders.

Tax Crimes

According to the IRS’s 2017 Annual Report, there were 3,019 investigations, with 2,294 indictments and 2,549 sentences. Tax fraud accounts for 72.5 percent of the cases for 2017. This covers general tax fraud, but also a variety of specialty areas:

  • Identity Theft
  • Employment Tax
  • International Tax Fraud
  • Refund Fraud
  • Cyber Crimes
  • Abusive Tax Schemes

Furthermore, 14.7 percent were other non-tax crimes related to corporate fraud, money laundering, and public corruption. And the final 11.6 percent was made up of narcotics related crimes.

Tax Crime and Whistleblowers

Forbes noted that the IRS receives thousands of whistleblower claims, and turning this new task force loose with reports already in the system could help catch many of the international tax criminals. Many whistleblowers are well positioned to report on various aspects of tax fraud, including international tax crime. One example is Bradley Birkenfeld, a whistleblower who helped provide the key information proving that the Swiss Bank UBS was helping American citizens hide money and not pay taxes owed.

IRS Whistleblower Awards

The IRS whistleblower program has the authority to pay money to people who have provided specific and credible information that helps the IRS collect taxes, penalties, or other compensation from taxpayers who aren’t in compliance with IRS tax laws.

The key here is that the IRS is looking for verifiable and solid information, not an educated guess or other information that cannot be supported. They are most interested in major federal tax issues, not your individual grievances in personal or business disputes.

Payout awards typically fall under two categories. If the amount of tax, penalties, interest, and other fees exceeds $2 million, the IRS may pay out 15 percent to 30 percent of the collected amounts. This is provided additional qualifications are met. For claims that don’t reach the $2 million threshold, the IRS may pay out up to 15 percent. If the case involves an individual, the threshold is $200,000 annual gross income.

When to Call an IRS Whistleblower Attorney

If you suspect a case of tax fraud or other related issues, you need to reach out to a skilled West Palm Beach IRS whistleblower attorney who knows how these matters are handled. Keep in mind, the IRS receives thousands of claims every year, so it’s important to make sure your claim is credible and will result in an open investigation. The attorneys at McCabe Rabin, P.A. have years of experience handling IRS whistleblower cases. Let us evaluate your claim and help ensure it becomes a solid, valuable claim the IRS is interested in pursuing. Contact us at 561.659.7878 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your whistleblower claim.

Resources:

irs.gov/pub/foia/ig/ci/2017_criminal_investigation_annual_report.pdf

forbes.com/sites/erikakelton/2018/02/26/new-irs-task-force-whistleblowers-could-mean-tougher-international-tax-enforcement/#346e3d753fa5

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