ABSTRACT

IRS Whistleblower Program: Billions Collected, but Timeliness and Communication Concerns May Discourage Whistleblowers, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Highlights: "Tax whistleblowers who report on the underpayment of taxes by others have helped IRS [Internal Revenue Service] collect almost $2 billion in additional revenue since 2011, when the first high-dollar claim was paid under the expanded program that pays qualifying whistleblowers a minimum of 15 percent of the collected proceeds. These revenues help reduce the estimated $450 billion tax gap--the difference between taxes owed and those paid on time. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to review several aspects of the whistleblower program. Among other things, this report (1) assesses the WO [Whistleblower Office] claim review process, (2) assesses how the WO determines awards, (3) evaluates how the WO communicates with external stakeholders, and (4) evaluates IRS's policies and procedures for protecting whistleblowers. GAO reviewed the files of all 17 awards paid under 26 U.S.C. § 7623(b) through June 30, 2015; reviewed IRS data; reviewed relevant laws and regulations, and the WO's policies, procedures and publications; and interviewed IRS officials, five whistleblowers that independently approached GAO, and nine whistleblower attorneys who were recommended by IRS or other attorneys. Congress should consider providing whistleblowers with legal protections against retaliation from employers. GAO makes ten recommendations to IRS including, tracking dates, strengthening and documenting procedures for award payments and whistleblower protections, and improving external communications. IRS agreed with our recommendations."

Report Number:
GAO-16-20
Publisher:
Date:
2015-10
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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