The IRS summons is used to gather information concerning income and assets of delinquent taxpayers and businesses. The IRS also serves summons on people who fail to file tax returns or are not cooperating with the government.
If you receive a summons from the IRS, you must act in accordance with the law, but you still have rights, and you may be able to contest the summons, or parts of the summons.
For example, the IRS can request that you produce records as part of the summons, and yet the IRS cannot require that you create any documents or prepare returns that were not in existence on the date the summons was issued. Furthermore, you may claim privilege where advisable, and not comply on that basis.
If the summons is overly broad, you can contest it on the grounds that it constitutes an unreasonable search and, therefore, is unconstitutional. Finally, keep in mind that if the IRS obtains a judicial enforcement of the summons, you can appeal the decision via due process appeal and get the matter into an Appeals Division. Or later into U.S. Tax Court.
Ultimately, how best to respond to a summons will depend on your particular facts and circumstances. In order to avoid issues with the IRS, it is important to seek the assistance of a tax attorney who will guide you step by step.
Call us for a free tax problem solving analysis. And many also benefit from our free book, How to Get Tax Forgiveness.