The IRS recently highlighted how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected whistleblowers who submit information to the IRS Whistleblower Office.
It turns out that the IRS offers award money to whistleblowers who help investigators discover and prosecute tax evasion. According to the “Whistleblower – Informant Award” page on IRS.gov, “The IRS Whistleblower Office pays money to people who blow the whistle on persons who fail to pay the tax that they owe. If the IRS uses information provided by the whistleblower, it can award the whistleblower up to 30 percent of the additional tax, penalty, and other amounts it collects.”
Whistleblowers will now be notified when cases that arise from their tipoffs have “been referred for audit or examination.” That said, the agency is careful to note that “notification does not necessarily indicate that an audit or examination has been or will be opened,” nor does it mean “the claim will receive an award.”
When it comes to awards, the IRS says that they will send notification “when the taxpayer the whistleblower identified has made a tax payment with respect to which the whistleblower’s information provided.” However, whistleblowers may have to wait years for cases to be resolved, and awards are not always issued when those payments are finally made.
If a whistleblower wants an update on any pending cases they referred to the agency, they will need to send a hand-written request to the IRS Whistleblower Office. The IRS closed the press release by including that contact information:
Internal Revenue Service
1973 N. Rulon White Blvd.
Ogden, UT 84404
For more information on submitting whistleblower claims, the IRS provided a link to Publication 5251, Whistleblower Claim Process and Timeline.
Sources: “Whistleblower – Informant Award”; “Whistleblower Reforms Under the Taxpayer First Act”