Before sanctions are imposed, the opposing sides must meet and confer. You will then have an opportunity to reconsider your refusal to produce the documents. If your tax returns are not done for 2010 you cannot produce them.
Disclaimer of California Attorney
Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract.
Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan.
Robert J. Suhajda, MS,CPA
17721 Norwalk Blvd. #43
Artesia, CA 90701
Tax Relief Lawyer. Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns, Homeowner Association Strategist.
Whereas income taxes are presumptively correct, some people have filed income tax returns that do not accurately reflect their income or expenses, so discovery is allowed beyond income tax returns to investigate such things as your account activity, your books and records, your ledgers, your credit card activity, your business records, etc., to allow the other party to seek to discover financial records which may tend to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence regarding your ability to pay.
Two published appellate cases in California regarding support have specifically allowed claims of income in loan applications to contradict information set forth in income tax returns. See Marriage of CHAKKO (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 104 and Marriage of CALCATERRA & BADAKHSH (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 28.
You run a substantial risk of an order compelling further response and production, as well as monetary sanctions, if you object to an inspection demand and/or refuse to produce documents pursuant tor an inspection demand which seeks financial records calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence on the issue of your ability to pay, such as those addressed hereinabove.
Discovery is permitted to seek documents that may reasonably lead to admissible evidence. Therefor, the opposing party may ask for other documents beyond the tax return. However, you also have the right to make objection but should consult with a lawyer first. The objections should follow the code and if not done right can get you into more problems (monetary sanctions). See a lawyer.
What your question misses is that YOU don't get to decide what documents are the "best" evidence, and the attorney asking for the information is not limited to only asking for the "best" evidence.
One of the things which this attorney is probably looking for, as pointed out above, is INCONSISTENCY between your tax returns, loan applications, and other evidence of your living expenses; if your tax return says you make $50,000 per year gross, your living expenses total $70,000, and (some time back when folks were getting "no income verification" re-finance loans), you signed a loan application that said you were making $150,00 per year in the same year (a loan application is signed under penalty of perjury, too!) then the attorney, and possibly the judge, is going to ask, in effect: "WHICH TWO of those three numbers are the lies, and why should we believe whatever you tell us now?"