Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Action Recycling, Inc. v. IRS (9th Cir. - July 9, 2013)

This is one of those opinions where I don't really see the other side.

It's not that I don't understand how one could argue the other way.  But that side nonetheless seems so obviously wrong that it seems weird that a party would find it beneficial to argue (and appeal) the point.

For example, here, there's an underlying -- understandable -- premise that the IRS can't undertake "unnecessary" audits.  Backed up by a statute that says so.  Fair.

Similarly, one might normally think that it's irrational for the IRS to examine the exact same set of records when it's auditing a company.  True enough.

But here, the IRS examined a set of company back records, and took some notes, but didn't copy the actual records.  Later, the IRS examiner who took the notes left the IRS.  So the later examiner had a desire to see the records the earlier one had already seen.  But the company refused.  So the IRS had to get a summons.

All this makes sense.  At least to me.  As well as to Judge McKeown.  Who writes a tight, nine-page opinion explaining why all this is proper.  And doesn't even require oral argument.

Exactly right.

Yes, it would have been "nice" (I guess) if the first IRS agent had copied the records rather than merely taking notes.  But that he did the latter doesn't mean that the IRS is categorically unable to reexamine the records.  They're allowed to.  End of appeal.