The IRS receives confidential information daily from what we in the profession call "The X Factor" - ex-spouses, ex-employees, ex-friends. These are people with whom you may have confided your tax shenanigans, who are sore, and turn you in to the IRS. Those who are bold enough to attach their names to the complaint may receive a reward if the IRS is able to collect taxes based on the information disclosed.
Be careful who you share your offshore account information with---whistleblowing just got more lucrative. On August 3, 2016, the US Tax Court issued an opinion in a whistleblower claim case finding that the whistleblowers were entitled to an award based upon a percentage of $74,131,694 in tax restitution, a criminal fine, and civil forfeitures paid to the government. 147 T.C. No. 4. The targeted taxpayer pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the IRS and was ordered to pay $20,000,001 in tax restitution, a $22,050,000 criminal fine, and $15,821,000 civil forfeiture.
A recent article in Reuters reveals that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) acknowledged that information provided by Bradley Birkenfeld was so helpful in revealing the secrets of the Swiss banking system that he would receive a $104 million whistle-blower award. Mr. Birkenfeld, a former banker at UBS, recently served two and a half year prison sentence for conspiring with a wealthy California developer to evade United States income taxes.