Revenue in different league for rewards
THE $104 MILLION reward paid by the Internal Revenue Service in the US to Bradley Birkenfeld, a former banker at UBS, for blowing the whistle on tax dodging Americans and his former employer raised many an eyebrow on both sides of the Atlantic.
Birkenfeld also served 30 months of a 40-month prison term for conspiring to withhold information from investigators.
Anyone in Ireland spotting an opportunity to land a windfall will be disappointed to learn that our very own Revenue Commissioners play in a different league when it comes to rewards for whistle-blowing.
Figures from the Revenue show that it paid whistle-blowers €2,500 in 2011, €2,000 in 2010 and €2,350 in 2009.
This related to the collection of taxes and duties, the detection of controlled drugs and/or prohibited goods.
A spokeswoman for the Revenue said the Irish public was “generally willing” to provide information on tax dodging without any reward, which is heartening. However it has discretion to make an “ex-gratia payment” for information that leads to “recovery of tax or seizure of prohibited material”.
“Payment is only considered after a recovery, and only when the information provided is new to us,” she added.