Hedge Funds Buy Tax Whistle-Blower Claims
24 May Hedge Funds Buy Tax Whistle-Blower Claims
Hedge funds have found a new market to invest in: whistle-blowers. Informants who turn in tax cheats have to wait years to get their share of any reward from the IRS’s recently expanded whistle-blower program. So hedge funds, private equity groups and other big investors are offering an alternative. They are essentially agreeing to buy a percentage of those future payouts in exchange for a smaller amount upfront to the whistle-blowers.
The surging size of the potential awards is driving all the interest. Three years ago, the IRS began offering bigger rewards — 15% to 30% of whatever money the government recovered — in a move that has turbocharged the agency’s whistle-blower program.
Where it once handled only a trickle of tips, often involving relatively small amounts of unpaid taxes, IRS offices now receive a torrent of big money claims. Accountants and company employees have taken to trooping in bearing computer records and boxes of documents to back up their claims of underpayment by big companies.
In what is believed to be the first of these structured tax payouts, an IRS informant who reported that an overseas multinational corporation had underpaid its taxes by billions of dollars received $4 million last month from a private equity firm. In exchange, the firm will receive a portion of the award the informant expects to collect eventually.
John R. Dundon, EA – 720-234-1177