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NCJ Number: 118435 Find in a Library
Title: IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Summons Power: The Use of Civil Process for Criminal Purposes
Journal: Criminal Justice Journal  Volume:11  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall-Winter 1988)  Pages:125-185
Author(s): H M Neiman; J C Lyman
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 61
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Through the use of its summons power, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is empowered to do what other law enforcement agencies, both Federal and State, are restrained from doing.
Abstract: Under the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, Section 7602(a) provides that to determine a person's tax liability, the IRS may summon any person having possession or custody of books, papers, or records related to the business of a person liable for any internal revenue tax. Under Section 7602(c), no summons may be issued to any persons for whom a Justice Department referral for criminal prosecution is in effect. The taxpayer, hower, has the burden of establishing that no civil purpose existed when the summons was issued. This burden is compounded by frequent difficulty in obtaining discovery from the IRS in order to make this showing. What results is a potential for virtually unrestrained use of a civil administrative summons to obtain evidence for criminal prosecutions. Arguments that such summons violate rights against unreasonable search and seizure and the right against self-incrimination are of limited utility against a Section 7602 summons. Constitutional protections should prevail over a policy of expedient tax collection, and the upholding of constitutional principles should weigh greater in the balance than revenue law enforcement. 289 footnotes, appended relevant legislation.
Main Term(s): Internal Revenue Service; Summons
Index Term(s): Civil proceedings; Right against self incrimination; Search and seizure
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