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502. Definitions

Tax Return,return Information,tax Administration,person, Secretary

"Return" means any tax or information return, declaration of estimated tax, or claim for refund required by, provided for, or permitted under, the provisions of Title 26 of the United States Code which is filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by, on behalf of, or with respect to, any person, and any amendment or supplement, including supporting schedules, attachments, or lists which are supplemental to, or part of, the return. See 26 U.S.C. §  6103(b)(1).

The term "return information" includes all tax information relating to a taxpayer which is contained within the files of the IRS. Return information is divided into two distinct classifications:

Taxpayer return information: that information filed with, or furnished to the Internal Revenue Service by or on behalf of a taxpayer. An example of taxpayer return information is that portion of an interview between an IRS agent and the representative of a named taxpayer, functioning in that capacity, discussing the taxpayer.

Return information other than taxpayer return information: that return information not provided to the Internal Revenue Service by or on behalf of a taxpayer, i.e., information obtained from third parties who are not representatives of the taxpayer.Examples of return information other than taxpayer return information are:

  1. The books and records of a named taxpayer supplied to IRS by a third party;

  2. That portion of an interview between an IRS agent and a third party discussing a named taxpayer;

  3. Information developed by IRS agents in the course of investigating a named taxpayer's return from sources other than the taxpayer's representative functioning in that capacity;

  4. The fact that a named taxpayer filed or failed to file a return.

"Tax administration" means the administration, management, conduct, direction, and supervision of the execution and application of the internal revenue laws or related statutes (or equivalent laws and statutes of a State) and tax conventions to which the United States is a party, and the development and formulation of federal tax policy relating to existing or proposed internal revenue laws, related statutes, and tax conventions, and includes assessment, collection, enforcement, litigation, publication, and statistical gathering functions under such laws, statutes, or conventions. 26 U.S.C. §  6103(b)(4).

"Person" means an individual, trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation. 26 U.S.C. § 7701(a)(1).

"Secretary" means the Secretary of the Treasury or his/her delegate. 26 U.S.C. § 7701(a)(11)(B). The delegate with regard to 26 U.S.C. §  6103 is IRS. 26 U.S.C. § 7701(a)(12)(A)(i), Treasury Order No. 150-37 (Mar. 17, 1955), Treasury Reg. § 301.9000-1 (June 15, 1967).

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 501]

Updated January 22, 2020