The Tax Court held that it has jurisdiction to review the IRS’s whistleblower claims award determinations where the informant has alleged that they provided significant information to the IRS before and after December 20, 2006, the effective date of section 7623(b). Whistleblower 11332-13W v. Commissioner, 142 T.C. No. 21, is a continuation of one of the cases where the whistleblower that was allowed to proceed anonymously and have the record sealed in one of the three cases released on May 20, 2014.
In this case, the whistleblower first provided generic information regarding the tax fraud scheme engaged in by the whistleblower’s employer and several related entities and subsidiary companies to IRS and the Department of Justice in June of 2006. The whistleblower had several more meetings with the IRS and DOJ in 2006. The whistleblower continued to provide additional information relating to the tax scheme and those involved to the IRS and Department of Justice until the fall of 2009. The whistleblower alleges that the information provided after 2006 was not simply confirmatory details. The Government entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with one of the targets that led to a recovery of more than $30 million in taxes, penalties, and interest. The Whistleblower Office granted that whistleblower an award under section 7623(a) and denied the whistleblower’s request for an award under section 7623(b).
The Court held that the whistleblower had satisfied the “pleading burden by alleging facts that respondent proceeded with an action against the targets using information brought to respondent’s attention by the whistleblower both before and after December 20, 2006.” The Court held that the allegations are sufficient to establish jurisdiction.
The Tax Court also released a second opinion, Whistleblower 10949-13W v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2014-106. The Tax Court held, on similar facts as Whistleblower 11332-13W, 142 T.C. No. 21, that the Tax Court also had jurisdiction to hear their appeal of the IRS Whistleblower Office’s denial of their award under section 7623(b).
It is good to see that the Tax Court continues to broadly interpret its jurisdiction when it comes to appeals of whistleblower award determinations. These cases demonstrate the Tax Court’s continued fairness in providing whistleblower with a venue to appeal award determinations under section 7623.