Senators advise IRS to be more receptive to whistleblowers

In an editorial published yesterday in Politico Magazine, Senators Ron Wyden and Chuck Grassley criticize the IRS whistleblower program. The editorial, “Will the IRS Ever Listen?” states that the backlog on cases is too long and that the IRS needs to better manage its relationships with whistleblowers. They point out that 799 whistleblower claims made prior to 2007 remain open.

The Senators made reference to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s August 2014 Policy statement, stating they hope his “message is just the beginning of real reforms in the way whistleblowers are treated.” But state that while there has been some success with the IRS whistleblower program that they routinely hear complaints from whistleblowers about how the IRS handles their cases.

They claim the IRS is not putting its whistleblower program as it’s priority. The Senators suggest that an effective whistleblower program has the potential to reveal more evidence than audit technology and other internal triggers.

The Senators say that they joined with their “colleague on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch, in two bipartisan requests to the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review how the IRS handles public tips on tax fraud — from whistleblower cases involving potentially high-dollar financial awards to citizen tips about tax fraud that don’t have award potential.”

They close their editorial with “friendly piece of bipartisan advice: The commissioner needs to do more to make the IRS receptive to whistleblowers and to foster tax fairness and rebuild credibility with taxpayers.”

Read the editorial, “Will the IRS Ever Listen?

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