This week the IRS announced that it paid out a total of $125 million in whistleblower claims during 2012 compared to only $8 million in 2011. But this flashy statistic is not quite as incredible as you might think. The IRS paid $104 million of that to a single whistleblower, Mr. Bradley Birkenfeld. Birkenfeld was the guy who blew the whistle on USB which led to a $780 million settlement between the bank and the Federal Government.
If we exclude Birkenfeld, the IRS paid out $21 million in whistleblower claims last year. Still pretty impressive, but not earth-shattering. Perhaps a more telling statistic would be the number of whistleblower cases they closed or the average length. The IRS is still taking far too long to complete their investigations — usually a few years from start to finish. According to the Whistleblower Office’s annual report to congress, the typical whistleblower tax case sits in the “Award Evaluation” stage of review for 1141 days!