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IRS copying papers was unconstitutional.

Vaughn, a dentist who operated as a professional corporation, was investigated by the IRS. An IRS agent issued him an administrative summons requesting thousands of corporate documents. Before the IRS sought a court order [under IRC section 7402(b0] to enforce the summons, Vaughn voluntarily delivered the documents and agreed to let the IRS make copies.

Six months later, the corporation sent a written revocation of its consent to the IRS, having already made numerous informal requests for the documents' return. The IRS had not returned them; it kept making copies. Vaughn sued the IRS for the documents' return, and the last of the documents were returned in July. Vaughn contended the IRS should return any copies made after the corporation revoked its consent.

Result: For Vaughn. Retaining copies made after consent was revoked violates the Fourth Amendment proscription against unreasonable search and seizure. Since Vaughn was under no legal obligation to turn over the documents, the IRS's right to keep them and make copies arose only from his consent. The IRS had no right to retain the documents after consent was withdrawn and must return them.

Richard A. Vaughn, DDS, P.C. v. Baldwin (6th Cir., 1991).
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Title Annotation:Vaughn v. Baldwin, 6th Cir. 1991
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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