The Eleventh Circuit released Ware v. Commissioner, an unpublished opinion, in which the Eleventh Circuit upheld the Tax Court’s dismissal of the pro se taxpayers’ request for redetermination of their tax liability and their whistleblower claim. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the decision of the Tax Court to dismiss the taxpayer’s whistleblower claim because the Tax Court found that there was no evidence that the taxpayers filed a Form 211. As there is no record of a Form 211 being filed, the IRS did not consider their claim for an award. As the IRS did not consider their claim for an award, the IRS did not issue a final determination on their claim for an award and thus there can be no appeal of a determination to the Tax Court.
This case serves as a reminder that the procedures for submitting a claim for an award must be followed. The Eleventh Circuit does not give any details about the information that the taxpayers provided to the IRS. The Eleventh Circuit simply states that the taxpayers’ last argument is that the Tax Court failed to consider their whistleblower claim. However, the Eleventh Circuit states that the Commissioner asserts that the taxpayers never filed a Form 211. The Eleventh circuit goes on to state that, “As a result, the Secretary did not issue a determination on a whistleblower claim, and the Tax Court could not hear the case.” The Eleventh Circuit simply looked at the Treasury Regulations that describe the procedures that must be followed to file a claim for an award. “Under § 7623, the Secretary of the Treasury may pay a reward to an individual for bringing information to the IRS about the underpayment of taxes. A whistleblower must file a Form 211: Application for Reward for Original Information. 26 C.F.R. § 301.7623-1(f).”
Decisions such as this serve as a reminder that the ensuring that proper procedures are followed is just as important as the information that is provided. If a whistleblower fails to file a Form 211, then the whistleblower has not made a claim for an award. An attorney can help ensure that a whistleblower meets all of the procedural hurdles throughout the process. If you have provided information to the IRS without properly filing a claim for an award, you should contact an attorney who can discuss how you should proceed in order to protect your claim.