The IRS Summons
To determine if an individual (or entity) is compliant with the tax laws, the IRS has broad powers to conduct examinations and investigations. According to Internal Revenue Code 7602(a)(1), the IRS may examine a number of sources (e.g. records or data) to determine the accuracy of a tax return or tax liability and for tax collection.
There are several “tools” the IRS may use in their examinations to collect data. The IRS sometimes requests records and documents by issuing Form 4564, Information Document Request (“IDR”). You are likely to see the IDR in a civil audit. Another tool the IRS uses is the administrative summons. You are more likely to see a summons used when there is an on-going criminal investigation.
Internal Revenue Code 7602(a)(2) grants the authority to the IRS to compel persons to produce records as well as to testify. The summons must be served on the taxpayer or an officer if it is for a corporation and it must be issued for a proper purpose. What if a person refuses to comply with a summons? Then the government may seek enforcement in the U.S. District Court by proving several things like relevancy, legitimacy, that it does not already have the information requested in the summons, and that it has followed the required administrative steps.
If you receive an IRS administrative summons, you should consult a tax attorney!
Nehemiah Jefferson, Esq., LL.M., is President of America’s Tax Attorney LLC. The tax law firm provides Civil and Criminal Tax Representation to individuals, businesses, and tax professionals nationwide. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from The Florida State University, his Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School (Atlanta), and LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Alabama. Attorney Jefferson is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida, Texas, The District of Columbia, and is a member of the United States Tax Court Bar. He may be reached at (877) 575-7765 or [email protected].