Yale Law School
Using The False Claims Act To Remedy Tax-Expenditure Fraud
The federal False Claims Act (FCA) may be a tool for combating fraudulent claims regarding tax expenditures. The FCA has been used to protect the public fisc by imposing liability upon anyone who makes a false or fraudulent claim relating to an expenditure of federal funds. A substantial share of government spending is implemented through tax credits and deductions granted to individuals and entities for taking particular actions promoted by the tax code—so-called “tax expenditures.” Funds subsidized by such tax expenditures can themselves be the objects of fraud. For example, a taxpayer could be defrauded of retirement funds that the government has indirectly subsidized through tax deductions granted to the defrauded taxpayer. This Article explores how the FCA might be invoked to combat fraud that targets the recipients of tax expenditures, as well as doctrinal counterarguments to such an application. We touch on the potential breadth of the FCA’s reach insofar as it encompasses such claims, as well as the prospect of using other whistleblower mechanisms to achieve similar results.