When opening any correspondence from the IRS, it’s natural to feel anxious. This is especially true when you realize you’ve received an IRS summons.
How exactly do you tackle IRS summons enforcement? And what should you do if you’re confronted with a summons enforcement hearing?
Here’s a look at what IRS summons enforcement entails and what your options are when you’re faced with this situation.
A Glimpse at an IRS Summons
The IRS may issue you a summons for any information needed to properly calculate your tax liability. In addition, a summons from the IRS can be used for determining whether your previously filed tax return is indeed correct. The IRS might also move forward with IRS summons enforcement to create a tax return if one hasn’t been prepared, or to start collecting tax from you.
During the IRS summons enforcement process, the IRS might want to examine your records and books, including financial statements and documents. Furthermore, the IRS may demand that you appear before one of the agency’s officials in a summons enforcement hearing if you possess information related to its tax investigation. The investigation may involve either you or another party that you have information about—for example, a client of your banking institution.
Ignoring an IRS Summons
If you’re worried about IRS summons enforcement, you may naturally consider ignoring the summons. However, if you ignore or refuse it, you could end up getting into trouble with the United States Department of Justice. Specifically, this department could obtain an order from the court that would allow it to enforce the summons. If you continue to refuse it, you might end up being held in contempt and even criminally prosecuted for failing to comply with the summons. For this reason, ignoring the summons generally isn’t the best option.
Challenging an IRS Summons
If you’re facing an IRS summons enforcement issue, you also have the option of challenging the summons. However, as a general rule of thumb, the IRS might demonstrate that its summons is enforceable and valid by attaching to it an affidavit or declaration explaining why.
Hiring a Tax Attorney
If you’re facing the threat of IRS summons enforcement due to your own tax liability, it is critical that you contact an attorney for guidance. This is especially important before you take part in any meetings with IRS officials. An attorney can help you to answer an IRS official’s questions. In addition, the attorney will assist you in determining when to refuse to respond to the official’s question.
In the same manner, if the summons from the IRS is related to the tax liability of a third party, it is within your rights to bring a tax attorney with you to a meeting scheduled with an official of the IRS.
Producing Documents Highlighted in Your IRS Summons
So, should you generate each document that the government outlines in your summons?
With your attorney’s help, you can evaluate which papers are indeed relevant to the IRS investigation and which ones you should hand over. Determining which documents to produce can be complicated, so it is wise to seek an attorney’s help before making these calls.
Working with an experienced tax attorney during this process is essential because your attorney can help you to avoid inadvertently or unknowingly generating documents that may feature privileged information or information that is possibly incriminating.
Note that if you refuse to furnish certain documents, the IRS could challenge the reasons you provide for failing to produce these documents. As an example, let’s say that you use the Fifth Amendment to support your decision not to give the IRS the documents. IRS officials could still object to this based on multiple legal doctrines. In light of this, it is paramount that you engage a tax attorney to direct you during this process.
Seek the Help of Delia Law If Facing an IRS Summons
If you have received an IRS summons and are worried about the IRS summons enforcement process, get in touch with us at Delia Law. Why? Because we have extensive experience in dealing with IRS summonses, including helping clients in the summons enforcement hearing setting.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help you to effectively address an IRS summons enforcement issue. Our chief goal in this situation is to protect your best interests both financially and legally in the months and years ahead.
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