December 29, 2012
The Deductibility of Payments to Whistleblowers Under the False Claims Act
Jonathan D. Grossman (J.D. 2012, NYU), Note, The Case Against the Tax Deductibility of FCA Relator Fees, 87 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1452 (2012):
The False Claims Act (FCA) imposes severe penalties on those who commit fraud against the federal government. The statute currently requires violators to pay treble damages plus a statutory penalty of five to ten thousand dollars per violation. The goal of the statute is to deter fraud by setting punitive damages at a high level. However, the tax law, as currently interpreted by the IRS, blunts the force of the statute by allowing a violator to deduct a portion of an FCA damages award as a business expense. Specifically, Treasury regulations allow for the deductibility of any portion of an FCA settlement or damages award that is paid to the whistleblower, known as the “relator,” who brings suit under the FCA for the alleged fraud. This Note argues that, for reasons of efficiency and equity, the IRS should change its current position and disallow relator fee deductions.
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