Let’s imagine you’ve been cheating on your taxes for the last five years. Now let’s imagine you’re getting a divorce and you’re pretty mad at your spouse. Would you ever think of turning your spouse in even if it meant you’d be in trouble too? It doesn’t just happen in the movies (Blue Jasmine, anyone?) Plenty of people do it in real life, as illogical as it is.
Sometimes the informant is seething with rage and willing to take himself or herself down to get revenge. Other times, people hope to benefit financially from the federal whistleblower program and turn in people they merely suspect of cheating on taxes — even if there’s no good reason for the suspicion other than that they think someone shouldn’t be able to afford an expensive car.
Upset ex-employees who think something underhanded may have been going on will often turn their employers in. Rental tenants who were required to pay in cash sometimes get mad and turn in landlords.
But it’s tough to benefit from the whistleblower program, so think twice before you report someone who lives in a bigger house than you think their salary could handle. For one thing, an award will only be paid when the amount identified by the whistleblower (including taxes, penalties and interest) is more than $2 million. If the taxpayer is an individual, he or she must have at least $200,000 in gross income.
There are better ways to get revenge, right? You could just egg the person’s house and save yourself a big headache. (But we don’t actually advocate egging houses either).