New report from the GAO flags problems with the IRS whistleblower program
by AccountingWEB on
By Ken Berry
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the revamped Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblower program isn't doing its job. The program rewards people who turn in tax cheats in cases involving fraud of $2 million or more.
According to a new report from the GAO released on September 9, 2011, the IRS needs to improve its performance. In particular, the GAO cited the IRS' inability to manage claims in an efficient and timely manner. More than 1,300 whistleblower claims have been filed since 2007, with allegations of fraud levied against 9,540 taxpayers. The IRS is still investigating 8,254 of those taxpayers (86.5 percent).
The long-standing whistleblower program was upgraded in 2007 to encourage more tipsters to come forward. Here are some of the key changes:
- If the IRS proceeds with any administrative or judicial action based on information provided by an informant, the informant must be rewarded based on the amount collected. This reduces the discretionary authority of the IRS.
- A whistleblower award must equal at least 15 percent, but no more than 30 percent, of the amount collected in the investigation.
- A prior prohibition against including interest amounts when calculating the size of the reward was eliminated.
In its report, the GAO provided eight recommendations that may help alleviate the current problems, including redesigning the whistleblower form, revising procedures for tracking claims, and setting target dates for completing investigations.
For its part, the IRS said it "generally agrees" with the recommendations; however, IRS Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller noted that the agency must observe legalities relating to protection of privacy and due process, which can extend the time needed for investigations.
- The IRS Whistleblower Program: a government program that works
- Whistleblowers get new protection when they expose tax cheats
You may like these other stories...
By Cathy Stopyra and Todd SimmensUnderpayment interest, refund interest, and penalties charged to businesses are just a few of the considerations the IRS calculates when determining taxation for a given company. Though...
FASB mulling a revamped income statementDavid M. Katz of CFO wrote on Tuesday that the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is in the early stages of researching whether to launch a project aimed at improving and...
Renaissance avoided more than $6 billion tax, report saysThe Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said on Monday that a Renaissance Technologies LLC hedge fund’s investors probably avoided more than $6...
Upcoming CPE Webinars
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
FRF for SMEs Series--Measurement and Disclosure Principles for various Consolidations and Business Combinations, Part 4B
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.