The Internal Revenue Service’s Whistleblower Office received more claims last fiscal year than in any prior year as the program has begun paying out larger awards to tipsters with information on tax evaders.

The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 allows whistleblowers to collect up to 30 percent of the proceeds that the IRS collects from tax evaders. During fiscal year 2014, the Whistleblower Office received more claim submissions than in any other year, the IRS said in a report released Tuesday.

The total claims received in FY 2014 were 14,365, an increase of 3,845 compared to FY 2013. In FY 2014, the IRS reported that it made 101 awards totaling $52,281,628. However, reductions in expenditures required by sequestration reduced the whistleblower award payments in FY 2014 by $3,764,722. The total award amount, before sequestration, represented 16.9 percent of the total amount the IRS collected as a result of whistleblowers’ claims.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who authored the Whistleblower Office improvements in the 2006 law, commented on the report. “The point of the whistleblower office changes was to encourage the IRS to work as closely as possible with whistleblowers to rein in tax cheats and return money to the U.S. Treasury,” he said in a statement. “It seems the IRS has made some progress, but there’s always danger of moving backward if the IRS’ focus changes or if whistleblowers stop coming forward out of fear of poor results, such as the seeming lack of urgency in the processing of awards. I’ll continue to look for progress and even more evidence that the IRS is offering a welcome mat to whistleblowers.”

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