IRS Summons Enforcement After 'United States v. Clarke'

09/19/14  |  New York Law Journal

IRS agents conducting audits have the power to issue summonses requiring taxpayers and third parties to produce documents and testify under oath. In a summons enforcement action, the recipient of a summons can avoid providing the requested evidence by showing that the summons was issued for an improper purpose. This past term, the U.S. Supreme Court decided what showing a party must make to obtain an evidentiary hearing as to the propriety of a summons, concluding that the party must “plausibly rais[e] an inference of bad faith.” This article discusses the Court’s decision in United States v. Clarke and addresses the potentially significant questions that remain open.

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