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26 U.S. Code § 7217 - Prohibition on executive branch influence over taxpayer audits and other investigations

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(a) Prohibition

It shall be unlawful for any applicable person to request, directly or indirectly, any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service to conduct or terminate an audit or other investigation of any particular taxpayer with respect to the tax liability of such taxpayer.

(b) Reporting requirement

Any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service receiving any request prohibited by subsection (a) shall report the receipt of such request to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

(c) ExceptionsSubsection (a) shall not apply to any written request made—
to an applicable person by or on behalf of the taxpayer and forwarded by such applicable person to the Internal Revenue Service;
by an applicable person for disclosure of return or return information under section 6103 if such request is made in accordance with the requirements of such section; or
by the Secretary of the Treasury as a consequence of the implementation of a change in tax policy.
(d) Penalty

Any person who willfully violates subsection (a) or fails to report under subsection (b) shall be punished upon conviction by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.

(e) Applicable personFor purposes of this section, the term “applicable person” means—
the President, the Vice President, any employee of the executive office of the President, and any employee of the executive office of the Vice President; and
any individual (other than the Attorney General of the United States) serving in a position specified in section 5312 of title 5, United States Code.
Editorial Notes
Prior Provisions

A prior section 7217, added Pub. L. 94–455, title XII, § 1202(e)(1), Oct. 4, 1976, 90 Stat. 1687; amended Pub. L. 95–600, title VII, § 701(bb)(7), Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2923, related to civil damages for unauthorized disclosure of returns and return information, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 97–248, title III, § 357(b)(1), (c), Sept. 3, 1982, 96 Stat. 646, applicable with respect to disclosures made after Sept. 3, 1982.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date

Pub. L. 105–206, title I, § 1105(c), July 22, 1998, 112 Stat. 711, provided that:

“The amendments made by this section [enacting this section] shall apply to requests made after the date of the enactment of this Act [July 22, 1998].”