IRS plans to retool its whistleblower program

On Wednesday, the IRS announced a plan for a comprehensive review of its whistleblower program, working with both “internal and external shareholders” to produce a program that can evaluate whistleblower claims and make quicker payouts to whistleblowers. As a part of the review, the IRS will set up new timelines, including a mandatory 90 day deadline to review whistleblower claims after receipt. Furthermore, debriefings of whistleblowers will become “the rule, not the exception.”

This development comes in the wake of a critical report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The report found that the whistleblower program may produce inaccurate data when pursuing cases and that deadline goals were not strong enough. Republican Senator Charles Grassley told Reuters that the report was evidence that “the IRS isn’t serious about processing whistleblower claims in a timely way.”

In 2010, the IRS paid out $18.7 million in rewards to whistleblowers and collected $464.7 million in taxes thanks to whistleblowers. Senator Grassley said that since last September, he has heard a number of complaints from whistleblowers stating that their claims have been stalled at the IRS. If the IRS can run its whistleblower program so that whistleblowers are actually encouraged to submit reports, billions of additional dollars would be recovered from fraudsters.

This blog post was written by intern Julia Maloney.

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