Judge Kroupa of the U.S. Tax Court issued three memorandum opinions on Tuesday concerning whether or not the whistleblowers in those cases could proceed anonymously under Rule 345(a). All three memorandum opinions, T.C. Memo 2014-92, T.C. Memo 2014-93, and T.C. Memo 2014-94 were in favor of the whistleblower’s motion to proceed anonymously.
We believe that these decisions are consistent with what our experience has been to date as far as whether or not the Tax Court will allow docketed whistleblower cases to proceed anonymously or under seal. So far, the Tax Court is generally willing to let whistleblowers be anonymous if the requirements of Whistleblower 14106-10W v. Commissioner are met, so whistleblowers should take comfort in knowing that they can proceed anonymously in Tax Court to challenge their award determination on that basis.
However, the Tax Court has not been so willing to seal whistleblower cases on anything more than a temporary basis, although T.C. Memo 2014-92 shows that an exception to this general rule exists if unsealing the case could likely cause physical harm to the whistleblower.
On a final note, it looks like T.C. Memo 2014-92 and 2014-94 are related cases. This probably resulted from two different EINs and claim numbers for the targets, and that it ended with the whistleblower getting an award under section 7623(a). That would happen either where the original information was provided to the government before 12/20/06 or the case resulted in collected proceeds of less than $2 million.