The IRS this week announced another interesting development in its new IRS Whistleblower Program, which this whistleblower lawyer blog has followed closely. This announcement addressed new regulations permitting the IRS to share tax return information with whistleblowers and their lawyers under written contracts with the IRS, and also to advise those whistleblowers and their attorneys about the status of their whistleblower claims.
On March 25, 2008, the IRS announced new, temporary regulations permitting “disclosure of [tax] return information . . . to a whistleblower and, if applicable, the legal representative of the whistleblower, to the extent necessary in connection with a written contract among the IRS, the whistleblower and, if applicable, the legal representative of the whistleblower, for services relating to the detection of violations of the internal revenue laws or related statutes.”
If return information is disclosed to the whistleblower and the whistleblower’s attorney under such an agreement, the information must be kept confidential. It “may not be disclosed or otherwise used by the whistleblower or a legal representative of a whistleblower, except as expressly authorized by the IRS.”
How much the IRS may communicate with whistleblowers, and still fulfill legal requirements about privacy of taxpayers’ returns, has been an interesting topic of discussion since the new IRS Whistleblower Program was created in December 2006. We look forward to discussing the new provisions with the very capable IRS officials who administer the new Whistleblower Program.
The new temporary regulations may be found at 26 C.F.R. § 301.6103(n)-2T(b)(1).