BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- BP's ( BP) $20 billion fund to pay for disaster-related compensation may enrich the government more than the oil-industry roughnecks, local shrimpers and other workers put out of a job because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that began three months ago tomorrow.Unless Congress passes a new law, most of those who receive relief from the fund will have to pay taxes to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, potentially making the government the biggest single beneficiary of money set aside to help average Americans. The Obama administration urged the energy company to create the fund. On Friday, BP announced that it has so far paid out $201 million to more than 32,000 claimants. The largest groups include fishermen, who have received $32 million, and shrimpers, who have gotten $18 million. In addition, about $77 million has been paid for loss of income to a variety of occupations including deckhands and employees of seafood-processing plants and other businesses in the economically devastated region. Although reimbursements for personal-injury settlements would be non-taxable, the IRS recently clarified that payments for lost wages will be taxed, just as business income would be. In response to the IRS policy, Congressman Charlie Melancon (D-LA) has introduced legislation that would shield the payments from taxes. His Oil Spill Tax Relief Act of 2010 is modeled after a law that exempted payments from the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund from income taxes. "With the oil spill hurting Louisiana's three major economic sectors -- seafood, offshore energy production, and tourism -- thousands of people are struggling to pay their bills and get by day to day," Melancon said in a statement. "Compensation from BP will help, but during this uncertain time Louisianans will need to stretch every dollar and should not have to worry about setting aside a portion of the payments for taxes." "It comes as no surprise that the IRS -- the most aggressive collection agency on the planet -- wants its cut from disaster victims struggling to stay afloat who need the BP checks to pay bills and buy much-needed supplies and groceries," says Brian Compton, president of Los Angeles-based Tax Resolution Services, a tax negotiation and mediation firm.