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Turning in U.S. tax cheats and getting paid for it

Irish tax cheat reports skyrocket

Irish revenue office emblem2
If you live in Ireland and are thinking of playing a little fast and loose when it comes to taxes, make sure no one is looking.

That could be harder than you think. Judging from government statistics, tax evasion reports from the public continue to increase.

Last year, nearly 6,000 people filed so-called good citizen reports with Irish Tax and Customs, that nation's version of the United States' Internal Revenue Service.

More reports in last five years: These alerts of suspected (or known) tax evasion or other illegal activity have grown exponentially since mid-2015. That's when Irish tax officials began keeping records on the reports.

In the second half of 2015, there were just 855 good citizen reports, according to The Irish Times. In 2016, the reports reached 3,006 and have increased every subsequent year.

The latest data indicate that 2020 will set another tax evasion report record. In the first six months of this year, tax officials received 3,387 reports of suspicious activity.

That half-year figure of folks suspicious about the revenue activities of their friends, businesses or family in St. Patrick's homeland earns this week's By the Numbers honors.

Easier reporting pays off: Are tax scofflaws becoming more common in Ireland? Not necessarily.

Irish revenue officials attributed the increased reporting to the service's modernization efforts.

"The availability of our online tax evasion report facility and the anonymity that making a report online provides makes it as easy as possible for citizens to report shadow economy activity to Revenue," an agency spokesperson told the newspaper.

Whatever the reason for the increase in ratting out tax cheats, it's paying off.

The latest Irish government financial information shows that €4.9 million ($5.83 million U.S.) was recovered in 2016 thanks to 2,971 reports that year. In 2017, another 4,734 good citizen tax reports led to the collection of €2.6 million ($3 million U.S.) more.

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