Tax Court Continues IRS Whistleblower Anonymity
Whistleblower Protected For Now
When tax fraud or tax avoidance is in the billions of dollars, there’s much at stake, including the safety of the individual who blew the whistle on the fraud. Courts and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) understand that. For that reason, a recent and massive IRS whistleblower case remains sealed for now. In the case, a whistleblower contends that the taxpayer avoided a staggering $3 billion federal tax liability. The IRS whistleblower asked to remain anonymous fearing retaliation, physical harm, social and professional stigma, and economic distress. For now, the U.S. Tax Court agreed.
Eventually, whistleblower cases, like other government and judicial proceedings, usually become fully public matters. In the U.S., courts and government agencies for the most part deliberate transparently before the public eye and disclose the identities of applicants and litigants, including whistleblowers. Specific laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation but do not guarantee anonymity forever. In fact, in this recent opinion, the Tax Court cautioned the whistleblower that “the balance that we now find to weigh in favor of anonymity may change, so that petitioner may take that risk into account in deciding whether to proceed with the action.”
The IRS for now does not object to the whistleblower remaining anonymous. That too could change. Particularly because, the court noted, the IRS whistleblower stands to receive up to 30% of a possible $1 billion recovery. Such an award could cause the scales to shift toward disclosure, the court observed, such that the whistleblower’s anonymity could no longer be “justified.” But for now the court found that the whistleblower’s concerns outweighed the public interest in unsealing the record and disclosing the whistleblower’s identity. All in all, the case underscores how serious IRS whistleblower cases can be and reinforces the need for counsel and professional assistance when coming forward with evidence of tax avoidance.
If you have information regarding tax fraud or abusive tax avoidance and are looking to be a whistleblower in San Francisco County or in any California county, contact the Evans Law Firm whistleblower/qui tam attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with complex qui tam or whistleblower cases, including IRS tax avoidance whistleblower cases and tax and securities fraud whistlwblowers, and cases against large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.