How Successful Is the IRS Whistleblower Program?

Every schoolchild is told that no one likes a tattletale, but once you've become a taxpayer, the benefits of reporting a tax cheat undoubtedly become apparent. In fiscal year 2018 alone, the Internal Revenue Service dished out $312 million USD to whistleblowers who informed on tax evaders trying to avoid paying their fair share. The IRS collected $1.441 billion in taxes, penalties, and interest from those would-be cheats. Interestingly, the payout to the whistleblowers was approximately nine times more than the $33.9 million doled out in 2017, suggesting that the program is catching on in a big way. In total, the IRS made 217 awards in FY2018, with an average amount equal to 21.7 percent of what was eventually collected by the agency.

Inside the IRS:

  • The first U.S. income tax was instituted by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861 as a way to pay for the Civil War.
  • The legendary gangster Al Capone went to prison on tax evasion charges; he was sentenced to 11 years in jail.
  • The common IRS 1040 tax form has grown from three total pages in 1914 to today's document that contains 101 pages of instructions alone.
More Info: Forbes

Discussion Comments


What about the people that have family in Mexico? The nieces (non citizens) come over and have their children in the USA, giving those children a social security number. The family members use those numbers to claim dependents in another state and split the refund with the mother that provided the SS numbers. It's been going on for many years.

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