26 CFR 301.6103(k)(6)-1 - Disclosure of return information by certain officers and employees for investigative purposes.
(1) Pursuant to the provisions of section 6103(k)(6) and subject to the conditions of this section, an internal revenue employee or an Office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) employee, in connection with official duties relating to any examination, administrative appeal, collection activity, administrative, civil or criminal investigation, enforcement activity, ruling, negotiated agreement, prefiling activity, or other proceeding or offense under the internal revenue laws or related statutes, or in preparation for any proceeding described in section 6103(h)(2) (or investigation which may result in such a proceeding), may disclose return information, of any taxpayer, to the extent necessary to obtain information relating to such official duties or to accomplish properly any activity connected with such official duties, including, but not limited to -
(i) Establishing or verifying the correctness or completeness of any return or return information;
(ii) Determining the responsibility for filing a return, for making a return if none has been made, or for performing such acts as may be required by law concerning such matters;
(iii) Establishing or verifying the liability (or possible liability) of any person, or the liability (or possible liability) at law or in equity of any transferee or fiduciary of any person, for any tax, penalty, interest, fine, forfeiture, or other imposition or offense under the internal revenue laws or related statutes or the amount thereof for collection;
(iv) Establishing or verifying misconduct (or possible misconduct) or other activity proscribed by the internal revenue laws or related statutes;
(v) Obtaining the services of persons having special knowledge or technical skills (such as, but not limited to, knowledge of particular facts and circumstances relevant to a correct determination of a liability described in paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section or skills relating to handwriting analysis, photographic development, sound recording enhancement, or voice identification) or having recognized expertise in matters involving the valuation of property if relevant to proper performance of official duties described in this paragraph;
(vi) Establishing or verifying the financial status or condition and location of the taxpayer against whom collection activity is or may be directed, to locate assets in which the taxpayer has an interest, to ascertain the amount of any liability described in paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section for collection, or otherwise to apply the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code relating to establishment of liens against such assets, or levy, seizure, or sale on or of the assets to satisfy any such liability;
(vii) Preparing for any proceeding described in section 6103(h)(2) or conducting an investigation which may result in such a proceeding; or
(viii) Obtaining, verifying, or establishing information concerned with making determinations regarding a taxpayer's liability under the Internal Revenue Code, including, but not limited to, the administrative appeals process and any ruling, negotiated agreement, or prefiling process.
(2) Disclosure of return information for the purpose of obtaining information to carry out properly the official duties described by this paragraph, or any activity connected with the official duties, is authorized only if the internal revenue or TIGTA employee reasonably believes, under the facts and circumstances, at the time of a disclosure, the information is not otherwise reasonably available, or if the activity connected with the official duties cannot occur properly without the disclosure.
(3) Internal revenue and TIGTA employees may identify themselves, their organizational affiliation (e.g., Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation (CI) or TIGTA, Office of Investigations (OI)), and the nature of their investigation, when making an oral, written, or electronic contact with a third party witness. Permitted disclosures include, but are not limited to, the use and presentation of any identification media (such as a Federal agency badge, credential, or business card) or the use of an information document request, summons, or correspondence on Federal agency letterhead or which bears a return address or signature block that reveals affiliation with the Federal agency.
(4) This section does not address or affect the requirements under section 7602(c) (relating to contact of third parties).
(b)Disclosure of return information in connection with certain personnel or claimant representative matters. In connection with official duties relating to any investigation concerned with enforcement of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code, including enforcement of any rule or directive prescribed by the Secretary or the Commissioner of Internal Revenue under any provision of the Internal Revenue Code, or the enforcement of any provision related to tax administration, that affects or may affect the personnel or employment rights or status, or civil or criminal liability, of any former, current, or prospective employee of the Treasury Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, United States Customs Service, United States Secret Service, or any successor agency, or the rights of any person who is, or may be, a party to an administrative action or proceeding pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 330 (relating to practice before the Treasury Department), an internal revenue, TIGTA, or other Federal officer or employee who is responsible for investigating such employees and persons and is properly in possession of relevant return information is authorized to disclose such return information to the extent necessary for the purpose of obtaining, verifying, or establishing other information which is or may be relevant and material to the investigation.
(c)Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section -
(1)Disclosure of return information to the extent necessary means a disclosure of return information which an internal revenue or TIGTA employee, based on the facts and circumstances, at the time of the disclosure, reasonably believes is necessary to obtain information to perform properly the official duties described by this section, or to accomplish properly the activities connected with carrying out those official duties. The term necessary in this context does not mean essential or indispensable, but rather appropriate and helpful in obtaining the information sought. Nor does necessary in this context refer to the necessity of conducting an investigation or the appropriateness of the means or methods chosen to conduct the investigation. Section 6103(k)(6) does not limit or restrict internal revenue or TIGTA employees with respect to the decision to initiate or the conduct of an investigation. Disclosures under this paragraph (c)(1), however, may not be made indiscriminately or solely for the benefit of the recipient or as part of a negotiated quid pro quo arrangement. This paragraph (c)(1) is illustrated by the following examples:
(2)Disclosure of return information to accomplish properly an activity connected with official duties means a disclosure of return information to carry out a function associated with official duties generally consistent with established practices and procedures. This paragraph (c)(2) is illustrated by the following example:
(3)Information not otherwise reasonably available means information that an internal revenue or TIGTA employee reasonably believes, under the facts and circumstances, at the time of a disclosure, cannot be obtained in a sufficiently accurate or probative form, or in a timely manner, and without impairing the proper performance of the official duties described by this section, without making the disclosure. This definition does not require or create the presumption or expectation that an internal revenue or TIGTA employee must seek information from a taxpayer or authorized representative prior to contacting a third party witness in an investigation. Neither the Internal Revenue Code, IRS procedures, nor these regulations require repeated contacting of an uncooperative taxpayer. Moreover, an internal revenue or TIGTA employee may make a disclosure to a third party witness to corroborate information provided by a taxpayer. This paragraph (c)(3) is illustrated by the following examples:
(4)Internal revenue employee means, for purposes of this section, an officer or employee of the IRS or Office of Chief Counsel for the IRS, or an officer or employee of a Federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing taxes under Chapters 32 (Part III of Subchapter D), 51, 52, or 53 of the Internal Revenue Code, or investigating tax refund check fraud under 18 U.S.C. 510.
(5)TIGTA employee means an officer or employee of the Office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
(d)Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of this section:
(e)Effective date. This section is applicable on July 11, 2006.