Today the IRS Whistleblower Office released a 3-page overview of the tax whistleblower process called Publication 5251 – The Whistleblower Claim Process. The new publication purports to provide clarity on:
- What qualifies for an award
- How whistleblowers submit a claim for award
- What happens to a claim after the IRS receives it
- Communicating with the IRS after a claim is submitted
- Whistleblower Process Timeline
- Common reasons for Initial rejection/denial of claim
While there are no new procedural changes identified in the overview, this publication does provide a snapshot of the claims process for the uninitiated. In particular, the Process Timeline” flow chart on page 3 is a relatively realistic display of the timelines involved with the claims process. Of course, we could cite numerous, and I mean numerous with a capital N, exceptions to the timeline based on the cases we have seen and been involved with, this is still a good representation of how the claims process SHOULD work. Getting a claim through the system without snags is another story, and is something we work on every day. A copy of Publication 5251 can also be found on IRS.gov.
 For example, in theory the timeline shows the “Administrative Proceeding” starting at the time a payment is made but well before the IRS starts to wait simply for the period of limitations on refunds to expire before paying an award. In practice this has not been happening. This is particularly crucial because it is only the start of this Administrative Proceeding which would trigger the exception to the taxpayer rules of 6103(h)(4).