In the tax practitioner version of “Were I King,” nearly every one of us has had that moment where we smack our head at something the IRS does or does not do and think, “the IRS should just ….” It is a form of armchair quarterbacking that is easy to do because the IRS, frankly, has a lot to improve upon. We represent IRS Whistleblowers who provide high-quality information to the IRS about the underpayment of tax. A lot of IRS Whistleblowers – we had nearly a quarter of all 7623(b) awards last year. There are many things I would like to see the IRS do differently but when it comes to protecting the existence and identity of an IRS Whistleblower, I wouldn’t change a goddamn thing. My apologies for the profanity but I felt it necessary to convey the shock, and gratitude, I have for the IRS’s protection of tax whistleblowers.
The IRS Office of Chief Counsel just released CC-2017-005, Approval Procedures for Identifying Whistleblowers. The Notice provides a formal procedure for Chief Counsel Attorneys seeking approval to reveal the existence or identity of a whistleblower. Not to bore you with the minute details but I will share the people that must sign-off: 1.) Counsel must find out if the whistleblower agrees; 2.) then Division Counsel must approve; 3.) Division Counsel will seek approval from IRS-CI Director of Operations; 4.) then the Director of the Whistleblower Office must approve; and 5.) Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations) must approve.
This Notice formalizes what has always been a very strict non-disclosure policy protecting IRS Whistleblowers. Rarely is an IRS Whistleblower needed as a witness. We have had it happen. In a case where the target taxpayer was challenging the underpayment in Tax Court, IRS Counsel deemed the IRS Whistleblower essential to the case. In writing, Counsel, informed us that the IRS was willing to drop the case if our client did not want to be identified as an IRS Whistleblower. That level of dedication to the people helping you is nothing short of heroic in my book. Our client agreed to testify, approval was received, and the case immediately settled. Our client received a hefty award and left with the feeling that the IRS truly valued the client as a partner in the process.
CC-2017-005 is another step in the right direction by the IRS when it comes to protecting IRS Whistleblowers. If you have information about the underpayment of tax and want to learn more about how the IRS formally, and informally, protects your identity contact us at 1-800-275-3332 or visit www.tax-whistleblower.com today.