The Success of the IRS Tax Whistleblower Program (i.e. Payment of Tax Reward) is in the Hands of the IRS.

A recent comment by the Director of the IRS Whistleblower Office indicates that the IRS is serious about ensuring the success of the Tax Whistleblower Program.

“Where There Is A Choice, The [Tax] Whistleblower Should Win.”

This comment says it all.  There are many tough decisions to be made by the IRS, but if the above quote is the true reflection of the attitude of the IRS, then the IRS Tax Whistleblower Program is on its way to being highly successful.   However, as background to the above quote, it was said in the context of considering the “fair” and “right” thing to do in tax whistleblower situation.

IRS Whistleblower Office

Some of the tough issues facing the IRS are ….

Is the term “collected proceeds,” as used in I.R.C. § 7623, going to be narrowly defined in the final regulations that are yet to be issued?

We will see.  The IRS could go with the true meaning of Congress and reward the tax whistleblower for his/her contribution….or it may narrowly define the term “collected proceeds” as it did in the proposed regulation.  For instance, will the term “collected proceeds” include future amounts collected (under certain circumstances) rather than simply past amounts?  Will collected proceeds take into considerations net operating losses (NOLs) or tax credits carried back or forward to the years for which the tax whistleblower provided information?  Will collected proceeds take into consideration offsets as to refunds owed the taxpayer on other years?

Will the IRS recognize that it must make partial payments to a Tax Whistleblower if there are no prohibitions as to making a partial payment….or will the IRS wait as long as possible in making the tax reward payment to the Whistleblower? 

The IRS can always wait until the last penny of tax is collected with respect to a tax liability or until the ten year statute of limitations expires before it feels obligated to paying the tax award/reward to the whistleblower.  In fact there are no statutory (or self imposed) deadlines in which to pay a tax reward/award to a whistleblower.  However, the IRS may realize that if there are no prohibitions (i.e. the assessment of tax is final (i.e. no further avenue of appeal) and/or the collection of tax is not subject to a claim for refund (two year rule)) as to making a partial payment, it will immediately make the partial payment of the tax award/reward to the Tax Whistleblower. 

Currently this office has submitted a request for partial payment of a tax reward/award for which the Form 211 Claim was filed in 1999 and the tax was paid in 2005.   Hopefully the IRS will side with the Whistleblower in this matter and make a partial payment of the tax reward/award in an effort to promote the Tax Whistleblower Program.

Is an “administrative action” as used in I.R.C. § 7623 a “detection of tax” the result of a tax examination, tax assessment, court decision, or is it simply an action by an “administrative agency”, that might include opening a whistleblower file, making a telephone call to the taxpayer, sending a letter to the taxpayer, establishing an “amnesty program” due to the Whistleblower’s Claim, issuing a new Tax Regulation/Notice as a result of the Tax Whistleblower Claim.

Does a “related action” as used I.R.C. § 7623 include subsequent tax years with respect to the same ongoing issues raised in the tax whistleblower claim?  Does it include other tax issues discovered by the IRS in the tax examination for which the whistleblower provided information?  Does it include other taxpayers for which the IRS discovered as a result of the tax whistleblower claim?

How does the IRS allocate the tax reward between two whistleblowers who both substantially contributed to the determination of tax?

As the bottom line to this blog, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of unresolved issues that will be resolved over time.  Let’s hope the IRS lives by the motto…Where There Is A Choice, The [Tax] Whistleblower Should Win.

 Should you have any questions or comments as to the IRS tax whistleblower program or obtaining a tax reward, please post comments to this blog, visit our Contact page or call the former IRS attorneys at the Tax Whistleblower Law Firm at 1-877-404-1040.