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

Asked about 2 years ago - 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)

  1. Peyton Hunley Robinson

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . 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,...
    Or see the code section at -- http://www.fourmilab.ch/ustax/www/t26-F-61-B-61...

    This answer or response should not be considered legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.... more
  2. Paul D Friedman

    Contributor Level 14

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . 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.

  3. Evan A Nielsen

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . 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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