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IRS Form 211: A Guide to Whistleblower’s Award Claim

Did you know the Internal Revenue Service can pay whistleblower claims to those who report cases of tax evasion or tax underpayments? According to its annual report, the IRS Whistleblower Office has paid out over 2,500 awards totaling over $1 billion since 2007. This article will walk you through the IRS Whistleblowers program and how to use IRS Form 211 to file a claim.

Let’s start with some background on the federal law which allows for the IRS whistleblower program to exist in the first place. That is Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 7623.

What is IRC Section 7623?

According to the United States code, the Secretary of the Treasury has the authority to pay a whistleblower award to individuals

  • Detecting underpayments of tax, or
  • Detecting and bringing to trial and punishment persons guilty of violating internal revenue laws to trying to do the same

In other words, IRC Section 7623 simply allows the Treasury Department to establish a whistleblower’s office to catch tax cheats. The IRS Whistleblowers Office is the operating division of the IRS who administers this program on behalf of the federal government.

There are two sections of the Internal Revenue Code that allow for payouts in an IRS whistleblower case.

IRC Section 7623(a)

Under IRC Section 7623(a), the Secretary has discretion to establish award criteria in cases not otherwise authorized by U.S. law. The IRS pays out the majority of claims that do not qualify for an award under IRC Section 7623(b) under this provision.

IRC Section 7623(b)

Section 7623(b) provides more specific payout criteria. If the federal government proceeds with any administrative or judicial proceeding based upon credible information, then the whistleblower may receive between 15% and 30% of the collected proceeds from the case.

In cases of specific allegations that came from public information (such as a news report, audit, governmental report, etc.), the Whistleblower Office may still grant an award payment of up to 10% of the collection.

In fiscal year 2021, the IRS issued 179 awards for $36.1 million. This represents about 14.7% of the collected proceeds.

IRS whistleblower proceeds under IRC 7623
IRC 7623 awards totaled over $36 million in FY 2021

Who is eligible to file a whistleblower claim?

According to the IRS website, a whistleblower must meet certain criteria to file a claim under IRC 7623(b). The reported information must be:

  • Signed and submitted under penalties of perjury;
  • Related to an action in which the proceeds in dispute exceed $2,000,000; and
  • Related to a taxpayer, and for individual taxpayers only, one whose annual gross income exceeds $200,000 for at least one of the tax years in question.

If a submission does not meet the criteria for IRC § 7623(b), the Whistleblower Office may consider it for an award pursuant to its discretionary authority under IRC § 7623(a).

The IRS also provides examples of they will not consider under both IRC § 7623(a) and IRC § 7623(b).

Examples of claims that will not be processed under IRC § 7623(a)

  • The individual is an employee of the Department of Treasury, or is acting within the scope of his or her duties as an employee of any Federal, State, or local Government.
  • The individual is required by federal law or regulation to disclose the information, or the individual is precluded by federal law or regulation from making the disclosure.
  • The individual obtained or was furnished the information while acting in his or her official capacity as a member of a State body or commission having access to such materials as Federal returns, copies or abstracts.
  • The individual had access to taxpayer information arising out of contract with the federal government that forms the basis of the claim.
  • The claim is found to have no merit or the claim lacked sufficient specific and credible information.
  • The claim was submitted anonymously or under an alias.
  • The claim was filed by a person other than an individual (e.g., corporation or partnership)

Examples of claims that will not be processed under IRC § 7623(b)

  • The informant is an employee of the Department of Treasury, or is acting within the scope of his or her duties as an employee of any Federal, State, or local Government.
  • The individual is required by federal law or regulation to disclose the information, or the individual is precluded by federal law or regulation from making the disclosure.
  •  The individual obtained or was furnished the information while acting in his or her official capacity as a member of a State body or commission having access to such materials as Federal returns, copies or abstracts.
  • The individual had access to taxpayer information arising out of contract with the federal government that forms the basis of the claim.
  • The claim does not have merit or the claim lacked sufficient specific and credible information.
  • The claim was submitted anonymously or under an alias.
  • The claim was filed by a person other than an individual (e.g., corporation or partnership)
  • The alleged noncompliant taxpayer is an individual whose gross income is below $200,000.

Ineligible individuals

There is also a list of people who, by definition, are ineligible for a whistleblower award:

  • An individual who is an employee of the Department of Treasury or was an employee of the Department of Treasury when the individual obtained the information on which the claim is based;
  • An individual who obtained the information through the individual’s official duties as an employee of the Federal Government, or who is acting within the scope of those official duties as an employee of the Federal Government;
  • An individual who is or was required by Federal law or regulation to disclose the information or who is or was precluded by Federal law or regulation from disclosing the information;
  • An individual who obtained or had access to the information based on a contract with the federal government; or
  • An individual who filed a claim for award based on information obtained from an ineligible whistleblower for the purpose of avoiding the rejection of the claim that would have resulted if the claim was filed by the ineligible whistleblower.

What is IRS Form 211?

IRS Form 211-Application for Award for Original Information, is the IRS form that a whistleblower must use to report suspected underpayment of taxes or violation of the tax laws.

The IRS Whistleblower’s Office stresses that a completed form must contain:

  • A description of the alleged tax noncompliance, including a written narrative explaining the issue(s).
  • Whistleblower’s information to support the narrative. This could include:
    • Copies of books and records
    • Ledger sheets
    • Receipts
    • Bank records
    • Contracts
    • Emails
    • Location of assets
  • A description of documents or supporting evidence not in the whistleblower’s possession or control, and their location.
  • An explanation of how and when the whistleblower became aware of the information that forms the basis of the claim.
  • A complete description of the whistleblower’s present or former relationship (if any) to the subject of the claim.
  • The whistleblower’s original signature on the declaration under penalty of perjury and the date of signature.

Let’s break down this form so we know how to complete it.

How do I fill out IRS Form 211?

There are two sections to this form:

  • Information about the person or business you are reporting
  • Information about yourself

Let’s take a look at each section in more detail.

Section A: Information about the person or business you are reporting

In Section A, you will include detailed information about the person or business you are reporting.

Line 1: New submission or supplemental information

Select the appropriate box. If you’re providing additional information as a follow up to your first submission, enter the claim number assigned to the original form.

Line 2: Last 4 digits of the taxpayer’s ID number

This might be the Social Security number, employer identification number, or another identification number.

Line 3: Name of taxpayer and other related taxpayers who committed the suspected violation

Enter the name of the primary person involved. If you suspect multiple tax law violators, like business partners, enter their names as well.

Line 4: Taxpayer’s address

Enter the entire address, including city, state, and ZIP code

Line 5: Taxpayer’s date of birth or approximate age

Self-explanatory

Line 6: Name, title, and contact information of IRS employee to whom violation was first reported

If you previously reported this to IRS officials, enter the contact information of the employee first reported to.

irs form 211, Section A: Information about suspected tax violator

Line 7: Alleged tax law violation

Enter the suspected crime, or multiple crimes, if applicable.

Line 8: Describe the alleged violation

Attach a detailed explanation and include all supporting information in your possession. Describe the availability and location of additional information if not in your possession. Finally, explain why you believe these activities constitute violations of internal revenue laws.

Line 9: Describe how you obtained the information

Self-explanatory

Line 10: What is your relationship to the noncompliant taxpayer?

Self-explanatory

Line 11: Do you still maintain a relationship with the taxpayer?

Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

Line 12: Describe relationship to taxpayer

If you answered ‘Yes,’ describe your relationship in more detail

Line 13: Are you involved in any governmental or legal proceeding with the suspected taxpayer?

Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

Line 14: If you answered ‘Yes,’ explain in more detail

Self-explanatory

Line 15: Describe the amount of tax owed by the taxpayer

Summarize the information you have that supports your claim. This could be records, books, tax returns, etc.

Line 16: Tax year and dollar amount

If known, fill in, by year, the amount of tax liability you believe the taxpayer to still owe.

Section B: Information about yourself

irs form 211, Section B: Information about claimant

Line 17: Name of claimant

Enter your name.

Line 18: Claimant’s date of birth

Enter your date of birth.

Line 19: Last 4 digits of claimant’s SSN or TIN

Enter the last 4 digits of your SSN.

Line 20: IRS Employee?

Are you an employee? If so, you’re likely ineligible for a whistleblower’s award.

Line 21: Spouse or dependent of IRS employee?

Self-explanatory

Line 22: IRS contractor?

Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

Line 23: Federal, state, or local employee?

Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

Line 24: Claimant’s address

Enter your complete address, including city, state, and zip code.

Line 25: Telephone number

Enter your phone number.

Line 26: Email address

Enter your email address.

Line 27: Declaration signature

This signature declares, under penalty of perjury, that the following information, accompanying statements, and supporting documents, are true and correct to the whistleblower’s knowledge.

Where do I turn in IRS Form 211?

Individuals must then mail the completed Form 211 with supporting documentation to:

Internal Revenue Service
Whistleblower Office – ICE
1973 N Rulon White Blvd.
M/S 4110
Ogden, UT 84404

Where can I find a copy of IRS Form 211?

You can find a copy of this tax form on the IRS website or by downloading the free version below.