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Can opposing attorney subpoena my income tax returns directly from state and federal authorities?

Yuma, AZ |

I'm a Pro Per Plaintiff to a civil suit. Can the Defendants' attorney subpoena my income tax returns directly from state and federal authorities, or must Defendants' attorney first ask me for my tax returns directly and then file a motion to compel should I not agree to disclose them? In other words, since the records sought pertain to me personally, must the Defendants' attorney seek them from me directly, or can Defendants' attorney technically bypass me and just subpoeana state and federal authorities for them, essentially forcing me to file a Motion to Quash?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

The other side will not be successful in getting the records from the IRS with a state subpoena. It is common for the opposing counsel to get the records directly from the IRS with a signed release. Most likely, the opposition will request you sign a release and file a Motion to Compel if you refuse. If your wages or income are in issue, it is likely the judge will allow the adverse party to get the records.

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Matthew G Koyle

Matthew G Koyle

Posted

There is case law in Utah which clearly holds that the court cannot compel someone to sign something under the formal discovery rules. What would probably occur is that the other party would send you a request for production and if you claimed you did not have them they would suggest that you sign to allow the IRS to just produce it. If you refused, they would seek to compel and the judge would sanction you for failing to obtain and produce the records yourself. The best thing would be to just provide them unless they are irrelevant and the request is merely designed to harass you.

Posted

Generally, tax return information is discoverable if relevant to a proceeding, but not through the IRS directly in the situation you describe (civil matter between private parties). So the other side would need to go through you.

Internal Revenue Code 6103 prohibits disclosure by the IRS except as provided in the statute. You can read about the restrictions at the IRS web site -- http://www.irs.gov/Government-Entities/Federal,-State-&-Local-Governments/Disclosure-Laws
Or see the code section at -- http://www.fourmilab.ch/ustax/www/t26-F-61-B-6103.html

This answer or response should not be considered legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have further questions, I would be glad to discuss your situation further. I can be reached at US - (801) 746-6300, or online at -- http://www.lewishansen.com/attorneys/robinson.html

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Posted

Tax returns are often discoverable, but not through federal or state sources. Unless there are unusual circumstances, particularly in a civil proceeding, the returns would be requested from you directly, not 3rd parties.

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