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Supreme Court Knowledge Check Essay

814 words - 4 pages

The chain of events leading up to the Supreme Court case U. S. v Clarke included summonses issued by the IRS to four people associated with Dynamo Holdings, L.P. for evidence and documents related to Dynamo’s tax liability for 2005-2007. Large interest expenses reported in those years were in question. Dynamo had agreed to two year-long extensions of the usual 3-year limitation period for assessing tax liability.

When the four individuals failed to comply with the summonses issued in September and October 2010, the IRS pursued the issue in District Court in April 2011 to enforce the summons under United States Code Section 7602(a), which gives the Secretary the power to examine relevant ...view middle of the document...

United States v. Clarke was argued on April 23, 2014. The decision was brief and unanimous, and it was delivered by Justice Elena Kagan. The Supreme Court held that a taxpayer does have the right to investigate the reasons an IRS agent issued a summons, when the taxpayer gives information or conditions that may give rise to an interference of bad faith. In Donaldson v. United States, 400 U. S. 517, 524, it was held that a person who was summoned is permitted to fight it in an adversarial enforcement proceeding that has the nature of a summary (United States v. Stuart, 489 U. S. 353, 369). According to United States v. Powell 379 U. S. 48, 56, the singular pertinent concern is whether the summons was issued in good faith. Using these cases, it is essential that the taxpayer not make unsupported accusations, but have reasonable proof to reinforce the claim. Circumstantial evidence is acceptable to act as support for the taxpayer’s likely foundation of his protest. If the IRS establishes the so called Powell factors, agents are covered: “that the investigation will be conducted pursuant to a legitimate purpose, that the inquiry may be relevant to the purpose, that the information sought is not already within the [IRS’s] possession, and that the administrative steps required by the [Internal Revenue] Code have been followed.” United States v. Powell, 379 U. S. 48, 57–58 (1964).

When the Eleventh Circuit ruled the way it did, it applied a categorical rule by...

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