Amid allegations against the IRS for having a terribly organized and inefficient whistle-blower program, the IRS has decided to review the program and improve its backlog and working practices. According to Steven T. Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, the IRS will work with “internal and external stakeholders on a comprehensive review of operating guidelines and procedures…to improve the timeliness and quality of decisions.”
The improvements include:
- Whistleblower Office-claims received should be initially evaluated by the Whistleblower Office within 90 days.
- Operating Divisions and Criminal Investigation-review by subject matter experts should be completed within 90 days of receipt.
- Whistleblower Office-whistleblowers should be notified of an award decision within 90 days of when collected proceeds can be finally determined.
This is a drastic improvement to their previous turn-around rate of 7 years. Currently the IRS whistle-blower office operates with 35 employees, however in order to achieve these lofty goals, the IRS will have to hire more able-minded people to expedite the process. Deadlines will be closely monitored with internal performance reviews for IRS agents and offices working on whistler-blower cases.
According to IRS procedures, agents may only speak with the whistle-blower once during the investigation due to the concern of divulging confidential information. Once the 90 days are complete of the initial review, tipsters will be notified of whether their case is eligible and how much their rewards will be.
Advocacy groups like “Taxpayers Against Fraud” (Washington based interest group that promotes IRS reform and encourages whistle-blowers) would like the IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman to speak in support of the whistle-blower initiatives. Shulman has yet to voice his opinions on the matter and many are feeling silence is the loudest form of communication at this point.
Whether Shulman voices his support or not, the IRS whistle-blower office made drastic changes that will streamline operations in a timely and efficient manner. Let’s just hope more people will feel comfortable speaking out against any unethical tax procedures.
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