Procedure for Reporting Tax Law Violations Needs Work

Maybe it’s because of the recent unprecedented IRS whistleblower payout, but people seem to be eager to turn others in for tax law violations these days.  Nevermind their own tax problems.  Of course most of the inquiries I see come from the estranged spouse or the “friend” seeking revenge.

The best way to report IRS problems involving fraud and other tax law violations is by completing and filing IRS Whistleblower Form 3949-A.  But according to TIGTA, Form 3949-A is too complicated for most taxpayers to be able to complete thoroughly and accurately.  And many are also using the form for something other than its intended purpose.

TIGTA studied a sampling of 530 whistleblower forms 3949-A and identified some serious problems:

  • 27 percent could not be processed because they didn’t provide sufficient details (not surprising since the form asks for things like the social security number and birth date of the person you are reporting)
  • 21 percent were incorrectly used to report identity theft (some IRS service centers were actually instructing taxpayers to use this form for ID theft when, in fact, they should be filing Form14039, the ID Theft Affidavit)
  • Forms that reported “other issues” not covered by F3949-A were often shredded by IRS personnel instead of being forwarded to the appropriate IRS function


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