On January 6, 2013 The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center was announced as the 2012 Tax Notes Person of the Year. Tax Notes also recognized nine others who were “contenders” for the title. Among the contenders was the National Whistleblowers Center’s Senior Policy Analyst, Dean Zerbe.
Zerbe gained significant recognition in 2012 when he and co-counsel Stephen M. Kohn helped internationally acclaimed UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld obtain a historic $104 million reward. Mr. Birkenfeld’s unprecedented disclosure resulted in cracking the illegal offshore Swiss bank system and resulted in over $5 billion recovered for U.S. taxpayers. Birkenfeld’s information forced Switzerland to change its international treaty with the United States resulting in it’s largest bank being forced to turn over the names of over 4,900 U.S. citizens who held illegal offshore accounts.
In Zerbe’s position as Senior Policy Analyst with the NWC he has frequently commentated on the government's development of the revised IRS whistleblower program. He has pressed the IRS to develop guidance on whistleblower anonymity and to define procedures for award payments and timelines for acting on whistleblower information. In addition, Zerbe co-authored with Kohn, on behalf of the NWC, an amicus brief filed with the Tax Court addressing key questions of law governing the IRS Whistleblower program. The brief, linked here, addressed the issue of "collected proceeds" under the IRS whistleblower law. The "collected proceeds" issue impacts hundreds if not thousands of cases in which the IRS must determine whether a whistleblower is entitled to a reward based on monies obtained by the U.S. government related to tax violation.