IRS & Tax Whistleblowers
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s record in obtaining rewards for tax whistleblowers is unparalleled. As of 2012, our firm is responsible for over 1/3 of all IRS whistleblower rewards, totaling $369 million.
Our attorneys have unmatched expertise in the rules and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Program and have continuously advocated for a robust program which benefits whistleblowers and American taxpayers.
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto has represented more than a dozen whistleblowers who have received multimillion awards through the IRS Whistleblower Program. Through the program, qualified individuals who voluntarily provide original information about large-scale tax fraud are entitled to monetary awards of 15-30% of the proceeds collected as a result of their whistleblowing.
In addition to advocating for the largest awards possible for our clients, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto is committed to protecting the confidentiality of tax whistleblowers. All of our tax whistleblower clients who wanted to proceed as confidential whistleblowers have remained confidential – even those who have collected multi-million dollar rewards.
IRS Tax Whistleblower
“The only lawyer on my side was Steve Kohn. He was as smart as they come and feisty as a pit bull. Steve was convinced the government owed me a fat reward, and he was going to get it, or die trying.”
Historic $104 Million Whistleblower Reward
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represented UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld in his historic tax whistleblowing case. A former international banker and wealth manager with UBS, Birkenfeld blew the whistle on a massive tax evasion scheme that helped U.S. citizens create secret Swiss offshore accounts to avoid U.S taxation. His disclosures resulted in the upending of the Swiss banking system. Birkenfeld received a record $104 million whistleblower award.
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s Major IRS Whistleblower Award Cases
|2012||Bradley Birkenfeld||$104 Million|
|2015||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$11.631 Million|
|2016||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$17.8 Million|
|2017||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$2.394 Million|
|2018||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$145 Million|
|2018||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$12.781 Million|
|2018||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$24.473 Million|
|2019||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$10.836 Million|
|2020||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$5.284 Million|
|2020||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$4.9 Million|
|2021||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$5.3 Million|
|2022||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$1.2 Million|
|2022||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$15.911 Million|
|2023||Confidential Tax Whistleblower||$7.674 Million|
|Total Awarded to Clients||$369.314 Million|
KKC’s Longstanding Efforts to Make Tax Whistleblowing Work
Since the Tax Relief and Health Care Act established the modern IRS Whistleblower Program in 2006, the pro bono team at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto has engaged in consistent advocacy to ensure that the program works to the best of its abilities. As part of its pro bono efforts, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto has filed rulemaking petitions, testified at rulemaking hearings, filed amicus curiae briefs in precedent-setting tax whistleblower cases, and helped push for legislation to improve the efficacy of the IRS Whistleblower Program.
Learn about our pro bono efforts in improving the IRS Whistleblower Program.
IRS Whistleblower Program
The IRS Whistleblower Program offers monetary awards and anti-retaliation protections to individuals disclosing tax evasion and fraud. Since 2007, the program has awarded whistleblowers over $1 billion based on the collection of over $6 billion in back taxes, interest, penalties, and criminal fines and sanctions. Types of Fraud Covered by the IRS Whistleblower Program:
- Offshore Tax Havens — when a company knowingly moves money to a bank in another country to avoid reporting taxable income in the U.S.;
- Shell Accounts — setting up multiple bank accounts and circulating money across these accounts to evade or avoid taxes;
- False Reporting — reporting false information on tax returns, such as underreporting revenues or taxable income;
- Pyramiding — withholding employee taxes and intentionally not remitting taxes to the IRS, then filing bankruptcy and starting another company;
- Failure to Pay or Report Payroll Taxes — failing to file employment tax returns or pay employment taxes on wages.
Learn more about the IRS Whistleblower Program.
How to Report Someone to the IRS
Any individual with original information about tax fraud or large-scale tax evasion may blow the whistle to the IRS. Individuals do not need to be U.S. citizens or to be located in the U.S. to qualify.
The first step in blowing the whistle to the IRS is to hire an experienced tax whistleblower attorney. With the assistance of an attorney, a whistleblower may then file an IRS Form 211, an Application for Award for Original Information, with specific and credible information on tax fraud.
Other Tax Fraud Cases
Whistleblower receives a $98 million reward for turning in 387 US taxpayers with illegal offshore accounts.
A husband and wife team, Whistleblowers’ 21276 and 77, played the leading roles in a high-stakes confidential “sting” operation against a sophisticated international criminal enterprise that managed over $1.2 billion in offshore “secret accounts.” Based on the whistleblowers’ undercover activities, the fraudsters were criminally convicted and paid $74 million in fines and penalties. The case set the national precedent covering tax whistleblowers whose work with the Justice Department resulted in criminal convictions. After two significant victories in Tax Court, the whistleblowers obtained $17.4 million in whistleblower rewards.
Our firm obtained the largest award ever paid to a whistleblower in multi-jurisdictional anti-corruption cases (combined DOJ and IRS).
Latest from Our Blog
April 18, 2023
This piece originally appeared in the National Law Review. When Congress modernized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Program in 2006, it quickly revolutionized tax fraud enforcement efforts. The ability of whistleblowers to obtain mandatory rewards, paid from proceeds directly obtained from tax cheats, triggered thousands of high quality informants ...
March 2, 2023
The Bipartisan IRS Whistleblower Program Improvement Act of 2023 Provides Critically Needed Reforms On March 2, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the bipartisan IRS Whistleblower Program Improvement Act of 2023. The Improvement Act provides critically needed reforms to the IRS Whistleblower Program which are necessary ...
September 15, 2022
Whistleblower attorneys Stephen M. Kohn and Dean Zerbe are pleased to announce that a joint client – who wishes to remain anonymous – received an IRS whistleblower award of $16.8 million. The whistleblower provided the IRS with information that led to an enforcement action against 86 high-wealth individuals who had engaged in a sophisticated illegal ...