New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last week that New York state joined a whistleblower/qui tam case against Sprint-Nextel Corp. "for deliberately under-collecting and underpaying millions of dollars in New York state and local sales taxes on flat-rate access charges for wireless calling plans."
According to a Forbes Investing article*, the attorney general is proactive and engaged in this matter, as he should be, compared to the nonchalant Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
IRS whistleblower cases are complex, but by joining this case against Sprint and pushing the matter into the public eye, Schneiderman is accomplishing a lot for New York taxpayers, in addition to the potential collection of $300 million from the cell phone service provider. This announcement will hopefully encourage others to come forward about significant criminal tax acts and should encourage better New York tax law compliance.
These claims are taken seriously, and all parties need to realize that.
"Clearly, Schneiderman gets the value of whistleblowers," Erika Kelton wrote for Forebes. "The IRS, however, apparently still doesn't."
And we couldn't agree more!
Information to whistleblowers about their cases has been cut off completely by the IRS, and in the five years since the IRS tax whistleblower program was created, only one known award has been made to a whistleblower.
Whistleblower claims can be effectively managed and pursued, and the IRS should take heed from Schneiderman's actions. It's not only in New York that these issues can occur. And hopefully this case against Sprint will help collect owed taxes and narrow the state's budget gap for the greater good of New York taxpayers.