Bloomberg Blows the Whistle on the IRS: The agency hamstrings a program designed to bring in tips on tax evasion
Bloomberg News has an eye-opening investigation into what we now know is the failed IRS Whistleblowers Program.
That program is supposed to pay people who tip the IRS off to tax fraud 30 percent of any recovery, but Jesse Drucker and Peter S. Green report that just three of 1,300 whistleblowers have been given awards since it was created six years ago. Not all or maybe even most whistleblowing claims actually point to real fraud, but it’s implausible that 99.8 percent of them don’t. Bloomberg gives us a good idea of why the success rate is so low by tracing the story of one complaint.
That anecdote involves former employees of a tax firm called Alliantgroup who say the company helped its clients evade taxes. The IRS’s agents wanted to impanel a grand jury to investigate the case, but agency brass shut them down without ever even talking to the whistleblowers, Bloomberg reports.
What makes this case smell particularly bad is Alliantgroup isn’t some run-of-the-mill firm. It’s vice chairman is Mark W. Everson, who ran the IRS under George W. Bush (and was later fired as CEO of the American Red Cross for an affair with a subordinate), and several former members of Congress and congressional staffers.
The IRS was well aware of the political connections, as Bloomberg shows by getting hold of internal documents (though we’re not told how it got them):