Senators offer bill aimed at helping IRS whistleblowers

Senators offer bill aimed at helping IRS whistleblowers
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Two top members of the Senate Finance Committee introduced a bill on Wednesday to help whistleblowers that report suspected tax fraud to the IRS.

The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTop security officials issue stark warning of Chinese espionage efforts Lame-duck Congress should pass First Step Act The Hill's Morning Report — Takeaways from the battle royal in the Oval Office MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber FEC votes to allow lawmakers to use campaign funds for personal cybersecurity Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (D-Ore.), would enhance communication between the IRS and whistleblowers. It would also provide IRS whistleblowers with the anti-workplace retaliation protections that are already given to whistleblowers in other fields.

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“Whistleblowers are a crucial line of defense against waste, fraud and abuse,” Wyden said in a statement. “This legislation will strengthen protections for employees of companies who come forward to report tax evasion. Empowering these whistleblowers is key to rooting out bad actors who are breaking the law by dodging their taxes.” 

The IRS has said that whistleblowers have helped the agency collect more than $3 billion in revenue since 2007.

“Whistleblowers have the potential to help even more," Grassley said. "They need assurances that putting their jobs at risk carries protections. They also need better communication about where their cases stand so they’re not sitting in limbo. This bill will offer a welcome mat to those who are too often treated like skunks at a picnic.”

The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over the bill. Wyden is the top Democrat on the panel, and Grassley is a senior member and former chairman of the committee.

The bill is based on a provision in a taxpayer-protection bill that the Finance Committee approved last year but was never considered by the full Senate.