GAO Releases Report on IRS Whistleblower Program

Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report on the current effectiveness of the IRS whistleblower program. Since 2007, over 1,300 whistleblowers have filed claims with the IRS Whistleblower Office alleging tax fraud (in excess of $2 million) against 9,540 "taxpayers." The IRS is still investigating 8,254 (86.5%) "taxpayers" for tax fraud. The GAO report’s recommendations focus on improving the efficiency of the claim evaluation process.

The GAO made eight recommendations aimed at improving the efficiency of the current whistleblower program. Some of these recommendations include; redesigning the whistleblower form, improved claim tracking, and setting target goals for how long a completed review should take.

The NWC supports the IRS whistleblower program and the recommendations of the GAO for the improvement of the program.

Dean Zerbe, Special Counsel for the National Whistleblowers Center  (NWC) stated that, “the IRS whistleblower program is a winner”, “[it] is the skeleton key that the IRS needs for unlocking the door on tax fraud.” Further, Zerbe supported the need for improved efficiency within the IRS whistleblower program through better communication during the review process. Zerbe stated that, “The GAO report is exactly right when it highlights the need for the IRS to find a path to improving communication with whistleblowers.”

Stephen M. Kohn, NWC Executive Director also issued a statement in support of the GAO efficiency recommendations. “Justice delayed is justice denied. The GAO is absolutely correct that in order for the IRS whistleblower program to be successful, whistleblowers need to have confidence that their claim will be handled properly and in a timely manner. The U.S. government cannot recover $345 billion a year in unpaid taxes without the help of whistleblowers.” 

*Trevor Melvin (a NWC intern) contributed to this posting

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