IRS Subpoenas and Summons—What to do?
The IRS is getting much more aggressive in seeking and collecting monies that may be owed. A number of my clients have received summons from the IRS.
The IRS does have the power to issue administrative summons to taxpayers, oftentimes requiring them to produce papers, books, or other documents, and requiring them to appear before an IRS worker and give testimony under oath.
However, these summons are not always enforceable. In certain cases, an IRS agent may simply issue a summons to get the taxpayer’s attention. A summons may be overly broad in its request for the production of documents and cannot be enforced.
In determining whether a summons is enforceable or not, the court looks at certain criteria, including whether the summons was issued for a legitimate purpose, and if the information being requested is not already in the possession of the IRS. If the summons does not meet these criteria, the court will determine that the summons should not be enforced.
Whether or not a summons is enforceable is extremely fact-sensitive, and the court will require evidence before it can render its decision.
Even though some summons are not enforceable, it is not safe for you to make an assumption one way or another on your own. You must consult with an attorney or accountant who advises in the summons area for a professional opinion on how to proceed.
Always remember, as explained in our previous blog entry, you do have rights when dealing with the IRS. The IRS Bill of Rights is:
1. The Right to Be Informed
2. The Right to Quality Service
3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
6. The Right to Finality
7. The Right to Privacy
8. The Right to Confidentiality
9. The Right to Retain Representation
10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System