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IRS sweetens reward for whistleblowers

The Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, D.C.

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Being a tattletale could mean big bucks for both you and the IRS. Yesterday President Bush signed a new measure into law. It makes blowing the whistle on tax cheaters more profitable and easier to boot. Marketplace's Steve Tripoli says tax experts think the law's a winner.


STEVE TRIPOLI: Big cheaters who owe the government at least $2 million are the primary targets of the law.

Washington tax attorney Erika Kelton says unleashing whistleblowers on that group should pay off handsomely.

ERIKA KELTON: I expect revenues from tax evasion are going to increase into the billions over 10 years.

It should pay whistleblowers handsomely too. Under the new law they can take home up to 30 percent of what the government recovers.

San Francisco tax attorney Paul Scott says incentives this good should produce a whole new class of whistleblowers.

PAUL SCOTT: With the provisions that they have now, people with quality information who have something to risk, those folks are now, gonna be thinking seriously about coming forward.

The Internal Revenue Service has been slow to crack down on tax fraud even though the price tag is about $290 billion a year.

But Erika Kelton predicts the new law will turn up so much cash that it will change the way the IRS thinks.

I'm Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.

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