Since it was introduced in March, whistleblower advocates have been calling for the passage of the bipartisan IRS Whistleblower Improvement Act which makes technical reforms to the struggling IRS Whistleblower Program.
In a new op-ed a leading whistleblower attorney explains how key provisions in the bill would allow the IRS Whistleblower Program to once again thrive. Meanwhile, National Whistleblower Center has published an Action Alert calling on whistleblower supporters to urge Congress to pass the reform bill.
Whistleblower advocates have been calling for reforms to the IRS Whistleblower Program for a number of years. While the program has been an immense success, awarding whistleblowers over $1 billion based on the collection of over $6 billion in back taxes, interest, penalties, and criminal fines and sanctions since 2007, its issues have begun to undermine the program. The annual money recovered by the program fell from $1.44 billion in Fiscal Year 2018 to just $245 million in Fiscal Year 2021.
That’s where the IRS Whistleblower Program Improvement Act of 2023, introduced earlier this year, comes in,” writes whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto in a new article for Bloomberg Tax. “The bill’s technical reforms offered by the bill are four key provisions that will help make the program stronger.”
In the article, Kohn outlines these four key provisions:
- The imposition of interest on delayed awards
- The removal of budget sequestration for whistleblower awards
- The ending of double taxation of attorney fees
- The institution of de novo review in award case appeals.
“Although these reforms are technical and non-controversial, they’re essential to the proper functioning of the IRS Whistleblower Program,” Kohn explains.
“The program’s monetary awards are key to its success, so it’s essential to restore the trust of whistleblowers and their attorneys so that the program will fairly and efficiently award those who come forward with disclosures,” he writes.
National Whistleblower Center (NWC), where Kohn serves as Chairman of the Board, has supported the bill since it was introduced in March by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
NWC has published an Action Alert allowing whistleblower supporters to write to Congress calling for the passage of the IRS Whistleblower Improvement Act.
“A strong IRS Whistleblower Program is key to closing down the tax gap and holding tax cheats accountable,” NWC’s letter states. “The IRS Whistleblower Program Improvement Act goes a long way in making this possible.”