The IRS Whistleblower Office is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. The office was created under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 to oversee the IRS Whistleblower Program, which is a critical part of overall enforcement and compliance.
What is a Whistleblower?
“Whistleblower” is a generic term that typically describes someone who reports misconduct by an employer, co-worker or another party. The Whistleblower Program allows the IRS to pay anyone who can bring forth credible information about anyone who has been untrue or forgoing their tax payments. However, there is an abundance of federal laws that contain provisions that apply to employees and other whistleblowers, so this program can be tricky.
Federal laws that protect employee and other whistleblowers include some of the following:
- Occupational Safety and Health Act
- Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
- International Safe Container Act
- Clean Air Act
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
- Federal Water Pollution Control Act
- Safe Drinking Water Act
- Solid Waste Disposal Act
- Toxic Substances Control Act
- Energy Reorganization Act
- Pipeline Safety Improvement Act
- Federal Railroad Safety Act
- National Transit Systems Security Act
- Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
- Affordable Care Act
- and many more
To reduce the regulatory burden on businesses, the Trump administration has discussed repealing or revising some of these laws, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, the Affordable Care Act, and various environmental regulations. Contact a legal or accounting professional for the latest information.
Know When to Whistleblow!
If you happen to hear your boss, neighbor or anyone boast about underpaying their taxes, you may feel obligated to file a claim with the IRS Whistleblower Office. But before you do, you may want to seek advice from a tax advisor. Your tax advisor can help you file a comprehensive whistleblower claim, but you must be prepared to provide a written narrative that includes a description of the amounts due and supporting documentation. For example, you could provide the location of assets, copies of books or records, ledger sheets, receipts, bank records, contracts, and emails. The IRS also wants to know how and when you learned about the information that forms the basis of the claim, as well as your relationship to the taxpayer you’re filing a claim against.