The U.S. Tax Court, in an issue of first impression, said Dec. 8 that a whistleblower can remain anonymous in court proceedings prosecuting a whistleblower claim in order to protect the former executive's privacy concerns while serving as a confidential informant (Whistleblower 14106-10W v. Commissioner, T.C., No.14106-10W, 137 T.C. No. 15, 12/8/11).
Judge Michael Thornton said “Petitioner's request to seal the record or alternatively to proceed anonymously presents novel issues of balancing the public's interests in open court proceedings against petitioner's privacy interests as a confidential informant.”
Although the court granted summary judgment for the Internal Revenue Service on whether the whistleblower was entitled to an award, Thornton concluded that granting the request for anonymity struck a reasonable balance between the petitioner's privacy interests as a confidential informant and the relevant social interests.
The parties were ordered to redact information that would tend to reveal the petitioner's identity as the case progresses through appeals and additional litigation.
Read more at: Tax Times blog