Insigna v. IRS

In 2012 the National Whistleblower Center filed an amicus brief urging the Court to enforce the IRS (the respondent) requirement to determine the amount of the award for the case petitioner within a limited number of days.

The IRS failed to act in a timely manner. The brief argues that this lack of timeliness qualifies the IRS for the Telecommunications Research and Action Center (“TRAC”) tests for the Tax Court to initiate action. Despite the Tax Court’s limited jurisdiction, as the NWC’s amicus brief notes, the Tax Court was “provided direct authority to review ‘any determination’ made by the IRS as to a whistleblower’s application for a mandatory award.” The amicus brief accentuates the weight of the court’s decision arguing that,

“to allow the IRS to delay indefinitely a decision on a mandatory award to a whistleblower, and that failure to act not be subject to review by the Court, would fatally undermine the public interest, Congressional policy, and the law.”

“A failure to act by the Court will bring great harm to all whistleblowers who in good faith relied on the law and voluntarily submitted information to the IRS, which has resulted in the successful collection of billions of dollars in taxes.”

The IRS unreasonably delayed its actions, and as an agency under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”), the IRS remains subject to the regulations and guidelines of APA.

This amicus brief was filed in partnership with Dean A. Zerbe, formerly Senior Counsel and Tax Counsel for the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Charles E. Grassley. Given Dean’s background and knowledge of the IRS whistleblower laws as well as the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), the NWC asked Dean to draft the NWC’s amicus brief for the Insigna case – together with Steve Kohn — then Executive Director of the NWC.

The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) often submits amici curiae briefs in support of whistleblowers. To learn more about NWC involvement in other cases, click here. To find out more about what NWC is doing to protect whistleblower rights, click here.

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