Whistleblower Claim Status Letters
The IRS Whistleblower Office is testing a proposal to send annual letters to whistleblowers to notify them that the IRS still has their claim under consideration. The Whistleblower Office will send letters to a random sample of whistleblowers who have claims that have been open for at least three years. The letters will advise whistleblowers that the IRS cannot provide any information regarding actions that are being considered or may have been taken in response to their submission.
The purpose of the test is to evaluate the benefits and costs of providing annual status information on open whistleblower claims as well potential design features for an annual status letter program. Those design features include:
- The Whistleblower Office will send letters for claims open for at least three years, because an award payment less than three years after submission of information is extremely rare.
- The status letter will report on open whistleblower claims, unless the whistleblower has been contacted by the Whistleblower Office regarding claim status within the previous six months, or a decision on the claim is expected to be issued within three months.
- The test will include a random sample of whistleblowers; letters will be sent in March and April 2015. If the pilot is successful, the Whistleblower Office will send annual status letters on a rolling basis throughout the year, in order to manage the workload efficiently.
- The only information that the Whistleblower Office can provide in the letter is a statement that the whistleblower’s claim is still open.
Whistleblowers who receive status letters should not contact the Whistleblower Office seeking additional information, because no additional information can be provided. The letter reminds whistleblowers to notify the Whistleblower Office of any change of address or preferred contact information.
If a whistleblower does not receive a status letter during the test, this only means that the whistleblower was not part of the random sample. If an annual status letter program is adopted after the test, the Whistleblower Office will publish information about how it is implementing the rolling production of letters, which should help whistleblowers know when they should expect to receive a letter.