Attorneys Say Recent Ruling Tests Power to Compel Whistleblower Audits

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A court case involving a whistleblower claim that IRS declined to pursue is the first to test the Tax Court's ability to force IRS to audit a taxpayer for a claim of underpayment of tax, several attorneys say. In Cooper v. Commissioner, 126 T.C. 30 (2011), William Prentice Cooper III asked the Tax Court to undertake a complete re-evaluation of the facts on two claims he submitted to the IRS Whistleblower Office, and take whatever steps were necessary to detect an underpayment of tax. In the claims, Cooper alleged that certain parties had failed to pay millions of dollars in estate and generation-skipping tax.

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