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Tax Law

IRS Gives Agents the Authority for Summonsing Metadata

In ILM 201146017 (10/14/11), here, the IRS concludes that it may summons a taxpayer's electronic data files (or backup files) in order to obtain associated metadata.  That is the bottom-line conclusion, but the ILM applies the rule in several discrete circumstances.

The ILM defines metadata as and the need for it succinctly:

Generally, metadata is information that describes how, when, and by whom a particular item or set of electronic information was collected, created, accessed, modified, and formatted. The questions above arise in the context of examinations of taxpayers that keep their business records electronically with metadata automatically created as an integral part of the records. In many instances, the Service's examinations would be advanced by accessing metadata that identifies the original date a transaction was entered in the electronic records, the dates of any changes to the entries, and the username of the person who made the entries. The value inherent in an examiner's ability to obtain the date and source of recorded entries is self-evident; the information tends to support or undermine the credibility of the entries in the business records.

See also for types of metadata, the Wikipedia entry on Metadata, here. ...

View Jack Townsend's input in its entirety on the Federal Tax Crimes blog site.

For additional insight, explore Tax Crimes, authored by Jack Townsend, available in the LexisNexis® Store.


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