Tax whistleblowing took center-stage at the American Bar Association Section of Taxation meeting in Denver last Friday.  I had the pleasure of participating in a round table discussion with fellow panelists, Holly Styles, Senior Counsel in the IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel, and the Director of the IRS Whistleblower Office, Stephen Whitlock.  Among the topics that our panel discussed were the addition of the 31 new employees to the IRS Whistleblower Office and the implications of the final whistleblower regulations that were released on August 7th. 

Mr. Whitlock expressed that the addition of the new employees in the Whistleblower Office will help to pick up the pace of award payouts, echoing the comments made by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen last week.  Even more exciting for whistleblowers is that Mr. Whitlock stated that award payouts in fiscal year 2015 (beginning October 1, 2014) will be significantly larger than they were in fiscal year 2014.  Between the final regulations, the comments made by IRS Commissioner Koskinen, and the statements made by Director Whitlock, it has been a great couple months of news for tax whistleblowers. 

  • myheadhurtz

    Thank you for sharing this information with us. I look for information out on the web for any whistleblower news and there is not much being reported. Your firm is the only ones who even mention there was a Whistleblower conference last week. It is so hard to find information on what’s going on. Thank you again for keeping us post.

  • FCA Aficionado

    As a potential WB who has had to keep my powder dry for years now due to my perceived lack of commitment, transparency, fairness, professionalism, on the part of the IRS, and the IRS WB Office, it seems the latest changes in policy, regulation and rhetoric do seem move the Service away from a position of malicious compliance.

    What should still trouble, and dissuade, anyone like me, who faces a serious professional and economic risk in coming forward is:

    – WB Rewards Still Subject to Tax. (Treasury has NOT asked this be remedied);

    At present, the disparity between the lofty rhetoric from the Commissioner and the disheartening statements from the head of the WBO should serve as a source of warning and concern for potential WB’s. The continued exclusion of non-Title-26 receipts and taxation of WB rewards are concrete economic disincentive, and the lack of any WPR remedy will do little to calm the wobbly knees of potential WB’s considering making a submission.

    Until the Congress forces the Commissioner to force the WBO to hang a clear “Open for Business” shingle (indeed, tellingly, there is Still No WBO Link on the IRS’ home page), and gets down to correcting the above issues, potential WB’s who see risks massively outweighing any potential reward gains are bound to stay far from the arena of WB submissions.

  • Bubba Shawn

    FCA Aficionado’s voice is likely repeated in many accounting departments across America. Professional career self-destruction is the risk all IRS whistleblowers face while the WO and IRS Commissioners have proven callously unsympathetic toward IRS whistleblowers who experienced that employer retaliation.

    When we consider the IRS’s mission and interaction history with angry taxpayers, the Service decided to exclude sympathy from their training manuals decades ago. The IRS employees are cold bureaucrats, for the most part, because every word they udder could backfire in a court of law.

    “Open and under active consideration” is lawyer language that doesn’t impose an obligation upon the WO. They are so guarded that WO staff can’t even give guidance on the rules interpretation. In fact, I doubt if WO staff even take the time to read the rules. Everybody working for the IRS is resigned to work on a need to know basis.

    Compounding that fact is the IRS fanatical adherence to Section 6103 religious doctrine. If any word has the slightest chance of revealing taxpayer information, the IRS shuts up.

    Unless a nondisclosure agreement is signed, IRS whistleblowers shouldn’t expect anything more than an award mandated by the law.

    By the way, the WO Program Manager told me that the WO pays awards “all the time”. The problem is those awards are all 7623(a) awards.

  • FCA Aficionado

    That 6103 n is not part and parcel of the 211 submission process bewilders me a bit.

    That the law, as a means of promoting the WB process and as a deterrent to potential tax cheats, doesn’t require tax scofflaws busted thru the WB process to be subjected to a press-release civil-perp-walk baffles me a lot.