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IRS Summons

IRS Summons

When a good citizen gets an IRS Summons, it can be a shocking and scary experience. 

The IRS Summons

The IRS Summons is often from an IRS Special Agent or Revenue Agent for the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue.  The citizen is then required to appear at a certain location and time.  There is an Attachment to Summons that usually requests “any and all records in your possession…” for certain tax years and supporting certain types of tax filings.  The citizen must then gather and bring a large aggregate of personal records to the IRS.  The summons also says “[a]ny person who, being duly summoned to appear to testify, or to appear and produce . . . shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both, together with costs of prosecution.” (1) If the citizen fails to obey the summons, he or she could face a fine or imprisonment.

Post-Summons Meeting

Before or during the meeting with an IRS Special Agent, the citizen is likely to be given a Miranda warning: the right to remain silent as anything you say may be used against you in court.  This is a very dangerous time for citizens.  The Miranda warning means exactly what it says it is.  You are a suspect in a criminal investigation.  The IRS agent is looking for evidence. In fact, the IRS advertises that the job of a Special Agent is to "search for evidence of criminal conduct." (2) The Special Agent is trying to gather sufficient evidence to support a recommendation for criminal prosecution. The goal is a conviction or guilty plea. (1)

Wrongful Convictions

Many innocent citizens believe that, by simply telling the truth, the IRS will realize that they are innocent and end the persecution.  If it were that simple, then we would not have wrongful convictions.  These wrongful convictions can sometimes be caused by government misconduct, false confessions/admissions, and bad lawyering.(1) Consequently, it is very important that a citizen who is under investigation and has received an IRS summons has proper legal representation to protect their constitutional rights.

For more information, see IRS Investigation, Criminal Tax Evasion/Fraud, Tax Evasion, and Tax Avoidance.

(1) IRS Form 2039 (Rev. 12-2001) citing IRC §7210.

(2) See

(3) See