In FY18 the US’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collected a record $1.441bn in taxes, penalties and interest collected due to information provided by whistleblowers.

This is a significant increase compared to the $190m collected in FY17.

The whistleblowers received $312m in awards from the IRS, an increase from $33m provided in the previous year.

The modern IRS whistleblower award law was created in 2006 and championed by Senator Charles Grassley. The law provides that whistleblowers are mandated to receive 15-30% of proceeds collected by the U.S. government due to the information given by the whistleblower. 

Stephen Kohn of whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto said: “The amount of hidden dollars that have been brought to light thanks to the IRS whistleblower program makes it all the clearer that foreign countries – as well as our own states – that want to be serious about going after big-dollar secret stashes of cash need to implement a robust whistleblower award program.

“Words and good intentions aren’t getting the job done – protecting whistleblowers, rewarding whistleblowers – that is what is needed to crack open the secret accounts.” 

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The amount of awards and the amount collected over the past five year is summarised below:


Total Amounts of Awards

Amounts Collected

Awards as Percentage
of Amounts Collected

FY 2018




FY 2017




FY 2016




FY 2015




FY 2014