26 CFR § 301.7623-1 - General rules, submitting information on underpayments of tax or violations of the internal revenue laws, and filing claims for award.

§ 301.7623-1 General rules, submitting information on underpayments of tax or violations of the internal revenue laws, and filing claims for award.

(a)In general. In cases in which awards are not otherwise provided for by law, the Whistleblower Office may pay an award under section 7623(a), in a suitable amount, for information necessary for detecting underpayments of tax or detecting and bringing to trial and punishment persons guilty of violating the internal revenue laws or conniving at the same. In cases that satisfy the requirements of section 7623(b)(5) and (b)(6) and in which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proceeds with an administrative or judicial action based on information provided by an individual, the Whistleblower Office must determine and pay an award under section 7623(b)(1), (2), or (3). The awards provided for by section 7623 and this paragraph must be paid from collected proceeds, as defined in § 301.7623-2(d).

(b)Eligibility to file claim for award.

(1)In general. Any individual, other than an individual described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, is eligible to file a claim for award and to receive an award under section 7623 and §§ 301.7623-1 through 301.7623-4.

(2)Ineligible whistleblowers. The Whistleblower Office will reject any claim for award filed by an ineligible whistleblower and will provide written notice of the rejection to the whistleblower. The following individuals are not eligible to file a claim for award or receive an award under section 7623 and §§ 301.7623-1 through 301.7623-4 -

(i) An individual who is an employee of the Department of Treasury or was an employee of the Department of Treasury when the individual obtained the information on which the claim is based;

(ii) An individual who obtained the information through the individual's official duties as an employee of the Federal Government, or who is acting within the scope of those official duties as an employee of the Federal Government;

(iii) An individual who is or was required by Federal law or regulation to disclose the information or who is or was precluded by Federal law or regulation from disclosing the information;

(iv) An individual who obtained or had access to the information based on a contract with the Federal Government; or

(v) An individual who filed a claim for award based on information obtained from an ineligible whistleblower for the purpose of avoiding the rejection of the claim that would have resulted if the claim was filed by the ineligible whistleblower.

(c)Submission of information and claims for award.

(1)Submitting information. To be eligible to receive an award under section 7623 and §§ 301.7623-1 through 301.7623-4, a whistleblower must submit to the IRS specific and credible information that the whistleblower believes will lead to collected proceeds from one or more persons whom the whistleblower believes have failed to comply with the internal revenue laws. In general, a whistleblower's submission should identify the person(s) believed to have failed to comply with the internal revenue laws and should provide substantive information, including all available documentation, that supports the whistleblower's allegations. Information that identifies a pass-through entity will be considered to also identify all persons with a direct or indirect interest in the entity. Information that identifies a member of a firm who promoted another identified person's participation in a transaction described and documented in the information provided will be considered to also identify the firm and all other members of the firm. Submissions that provide speculative information or that do not provide specific and credible information regarding tax underpayments or violations of internal revenue laws do not provide a basis for an award. If documents or supporting evidence are known to the whistleblower but are not in the whistleblower's control, then the whistleblower should describe the documents or supporting evidence and identify their location to the best of the whistleblower's ability. If all available information known to the whistleblower is not provided to the IRS by the whistleblower, then the whistleblower bears the risk that this information might not be considered by the Whistleblower Office for purposes of an award.

(2)Filing claim for award. To claim an award under section 7623 and §§ 301.7623-1 through 301.7623-4 for information provided to the IRS, a whistleblower must file a formal claim for award by completing and sending Form 211, “Application for Award for Original Information,” to the Internal Revenue Service, Whistleblower Office, at the address provided on the form, or by complying with other claim filing procedures as may be prescribed by the IRS in other published guidance. The Form 211 should be completed in its entirety and should include the following information -

(i) The date of the claim;

(ii) The whistleblower's name;

(iii) The whistleblower's address and telephone number;

(iv) The whistleblower's date of birth;

(v) The whistleblower's taxpayer identification number; and

(vi) An explanation of how the information on which the claim is based came to the attention and into the possession of the whistleblower, including, as available, the date(s) on which the whistleblower acquired the information and a complete description of the whistleblower's present or former relationship (if any) to person(s) identified on the Form 211.

(3)Under penalty of perjury. No award may be made under section 7623(b) unless the information on which the award is based is submitted to the IRS under penalty of perjury. All claims for award under section 7623 and §§ 301.7623-1 through 301.7623-4 must be accompanied by an original signed declaration under penalty of perjury, as follows: “I declare under penalty of perjury that I have examined this application, my accompanying statement, and supporting documentation and aver that such application is true, correct, and complete, to the best of my knowledge.” This requirement precludes the filing of a claim for award by a person serving as a representative of, or in any way on behalf of, another individual. Claims filed by more than one whistleblower (joint claims) must be signed by each individual whistleblower under penalty of perjury.

(4)Perfecting claim for award. If a whistleblower files a claim for award that does not include information described under paragraph (c)(2) of this section, does not contain specific and credible information as described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, or is based on information that was not submitted under penalty of perjury as required by paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the Whistleblower Office may reject the claim or notify the whistleblower of the deficiencies and provide the whistleblower an opportunity to perfect the claim for award. If a whistleblower does not perfect the claim for award within the time period specified by the Whistleblower Office, then the Whistleblower Office may reject the claim. If the Whistleblower Office rejects a claim, then the Whistleblower Office will provide notice of the rejection to the whistleblower pursuant to the rules of § 301.7623-3(b)(3) or (c)(7). If the Whistleblower Office rejects a claim for the reasons described in this paragraph, then the whistleblower may perfect and resubmit the claim.

(d)Request for assistance.

(1)In general. The Whistleblower Office, the IRS, or IRS Office of Chief Counsel may request the assistance of a whistleblower or the whistleblower's legal representative. Any assistance shall be at the direction and control of the Whistleblower Office, the IRS, or the IRS Office of Chief Counsel assigned to the matter. See § 301.6103(n)-2 for rules regarding written contracts among the IRS, whistleblowers, and legal representatives of whistleblowers.

(2)No agency relationship. Submitting information, filing a claim for award, or responding to a request for assistance does not create an agency relationship between a whistleblower and the Federal Government, nor does a whistleblower or the whistleblower's legal representative act in any way on behalf of the Federal Government.

(e)Confidentiality of whistleblowers. Under the informant's privilege, the IRS will use its best efforts to protect the identity of whistleblowers. In some circumstances, the IRS may need to reveal a whistleblower's identity, for example, when it is determined that it is in the best interests of the Government to use a whistleblower as a witness in a judicial proceeding. In those circumstances, the IRS will make every effort to notify the whistleblower before revealing the whistleblower's identity.

(f)Effective/applicability date. This rule is effective on August 12, 2014. This rule applies to information submitted on or after August 12, 2014, and to claims for award under sections 7623(a) and 7623(b) that are open as of August 12, 2014.

[T.D. 9687, 79 FR 47264, Aug. 12, 2014]