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Category: Tax Violations

A Summons to Collect a Tax Penalty Is Proper When the IRS’s Criminal Referral Has Been Terminated

In Haber v. United States of America, No. 15-2078, the Court (Calabresi, J., Lynch, J., and Lohier, J.) considered and rejected petitioner James Haber’s challenges to an administrative summons issued by the IRS.  Among his other challenges, Haber contended that the summons was improper because a criminal referral to the DOJ was still in effect.  The Court rejected this argument and Haber’s suggestion that the Government must use precise language to terminate a criminal referral.  Instead, the Court took a common-sense view of the evidence and concluded that the DOJ had indeed terminated its investigation of the IRS’s criminal referral, and so the administrative summons was properly issued.  DOJ need not use any particular words to declare the termination of the investigation; it need only be clear from the record that the investigation has ended.