Washington • The Internal Revenue Service says it paid whistleblowers a total of $53 million last year for turning in tax cheats.
In an annual report to Congress, the agency said Friday it paid out 122 awards. That's an average award of nearly $435,000.
The tips led the IRS to collect more than $367 million in taxes, interest and penalties.
In general, whistleblowers can claim awards if they provide information that helps the IRS collect more than $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest. But it can take years to collect awards.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa helped write the whistleblower law. Grassley applauded the payouts but said he worries the slow pace will discourage whistleblowers.