Confidentiality of IRS Tax Whistleblowers or Informants–Federal Regulation on Keeping Whistleblowers Confidential

Our potential tax whistleblower clients–who call our attorneys about participating in the new IRS Whistleblower Rewards Program–regularly ask before they proceed if the IRS will keep their identities confidential.

Across the country, the IRS Special Agents we have been dealing with in representing our tax whistleblower clients (for example, in New York, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Atlanta, to name a few) have consistently answered the question the same way. Confidentiality is addressed by Treasury Regulations applicable to the IRS, which provide in part as follows: “No unauthorized person will be advised of the identity of an informant.” 26 C.F.R. § 301.7623-1(e).

We have found the IRS Agents we deal with to be quite professional. They appreciate whistleblowers coming forward. They recognize that, when the IRS receives information from persons in this position, their investigative work is far more focused–and effective.

In fact, the June 2006 Report of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration noted that, based on past experience,”examinations initiated based on informant information were often more efficient and effective.” (See June 2006 Report of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration–which predated Congress’ creation of the new IRS Whistleblower Rewards Program, entitled The Informants Rewards Program Needs More Centralized Management Oversight, No. 2006-30-092. See also www.tigta.gov.)

In our experience, the IRS professionals are very excited to have the new Program under the IRS Whistleblower Statute. They recognize the great service that whistleblowers provide. We look forward to further progress as the new regulations are announced this Fall.