Jurisdiction Over Petition for Redetermination of Whistleblower’s Award Not Extinguished by Death

In a case of first impression, the Tax Court retained jurisdiction over a petition for redetermination with respect to a whistleblower’s claim for an award after the petitioner’s death. The informant filed a claim for an award with the IRS Whistleblower Office (WBO) for naming multiple target taxpayers. The WBO denied the claim and the informant appealed the determination to the Tax Court under Code Sec. 7623(b)(4). The informant died after filing the petition, but before the trial. Moreover, the informant’s claim with respect to two of the target taxpayers was pending before the Tax Court prior to the petitioner’s death.

Litigation Post-Death of Informant

The counsel for the informant filed a motion to substitute the informant’s estate in order to continue to prosecute the informant’s claim after his death. At trial, the Tax Court stated that its jurisdiction over a petition filed under Code Sec. 7623(b)(4) was not extinguished by the death of the informant because the WBO reached a final determination and a petition was filed. Further, the informant’s claim survived his death and his estate had standing to be substituted as the petitioner.