Since 2007, the Whistleblower Office made awards in the amount of $465,195,241 based on the collection of $3,419,348,974. In FY 2016, the IRS made 418 awards, totaling $61,390,910 prior to sequestration; the total award amount represented 16.6% of total amounts collected.
Message from the Director
The year 2016 marks the tenth year since the enactment of legislation that formally created the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Office to oversee the IRS Whistleblower Program – a program that is an important component of the IRS’s overall enforcement and compliance work.
Whistleblowers have helped the IRS detect and deter tax noncompliance and avoidance, helping to protect both the nation’s revenue collection and the integrity of our voluntary compliance tax system. Indeed, since 2007, information submitted by whistleblowers has assisted the IRS in collecting $3.4 billion in revenue, and, in turn, the IRS has approved more than $465 million in monetary awards to whistleblowers.
Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 was, by several measures, a very productive year for the Whistleblower Program. The Whistleblower Office made 418 awards to whistleblowers totaling more than $61 million (before sequestration), which includes 18 awards under Section 7623(b). This represents a 322 percent increase in the number of awards made in FY 2016, as compared to the 99 total awards paid in FY 2015. Also, whistleblower claims assigned in FY 2016 were up 6.4 percent from those submitted in FY 2015, and closures increased by 99 percent.
FY 2016 was also a transformative year for the Whistleblower Program. We deployed resources from across IRS to help work the inventory backlogs identified by Government Accountability Office (GAO) in FY 2015. The backlogs have now been fully addressed or eliminated – enabling claims to move further along in the process to be worked appropriately. To avoid future backlogs, we reengineered and improved the process flow from claim receipt and onward, so that it is streamlined, efficient, and effective, enabling whistleblower claims to be timely and appropriately evaluated. Also, as part of our commitment to improve communication with whistleblowers, whistleblower submission acknowledgements are mailed to the whistleblower within days of a claim being received.
For FY 2017, we will continue to implement the changes, improvements and enhancements to the Whistleblower Program that we’ve committed to in response to recommendations from GAO, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), and our internal Lean Six Sigma (LSS) organizational review. These changes will position the Whistleblower Program to build on its success, as we further strengthen this important tax administration tool.
The Whistleblower Program continues to pursue improvement to our communication strategy with whistleblowers, potential whistleblowers, and whistleblower attorneys. As a result of a GAO recommendation, the Whistleblower Office developed Publication 5251, The Whistleblower Claim Process and Timeline, that covers best practices on submitting a successful whistleblower claim for award and outlines the timeline for each step in the claim process.
Read the entire report (PDF) IRS Whistleblower Program Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report to the Congress
Other related links: https://www.irs.gov/uac/whistleblower-office-at-a-glance