Dean Zerbe and Felipe Bohnet-Gomez, representing the National Whistleblowers Center and Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto LLP, respectively, presented remarks today at a public hearing on the IRS’s proposed regulations on its Whistleblower Program. Zerbe spoke on the policy implications of the regulations in their current form, and underscored the importance of whistleblowers in assisting the IRS to fight fraud effectively and efficiently. Bohnet-Gomez outlined objections to proposed regulations’ definition of certain key terms, which narrow the scope and effectiveness of the whistleblower program far beyond the language of the 2006 law.
All in attendance at today’s public hearing—including other attorneys and advocacy groups—agreed that the regulations should not be finalized in their current form. In addition to concern over the IRS’s definition of key terms, speakers also disagreed with the Service’s treatment of Net Operating Losses (NOLs) and other tax attributes, as well as a variety of provisions relating to the administration of the IRS Whistleblower Program and the Service’s communication with whistleblowers. Currently, whistleblowers face wait times of several years before their claims are processed, during which they typically do not receive any communication from the IRS regarding the status of their claim.
The National Whistleblowers Center submitted extensive written comments on the proposed regulations on February 19, 2013, and is available here.
A copy of Dean Zerbe’s presentation on whistleblower policy can be found here.
My previous blog post on this issue can be found here.