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CRM 500-999

503. Disclosure

"Disclosure" is defined in 26 U.S.C. § 6103(b)(8) as "the making known to any person in any manner whatever a return or return information." The breadth of this definition invalidates a number of prior access procedures. For example, upon inquiry by the appropriate Division, IRS was formerly permitted under 26 U.S.C. § 6103(f) to indicate whether a named person did or did not file a return (i.e., notification of the existence of a return). Under 26 U.S.C. § 6103 as amended, such notification would be a prohibited disclosure unless the provisions of 26 U.S.C. § 6103(i)(2) were met. See S.Rep. No. 94-938, 94th Cong., 2d Sess., at 339, 342.

Although the definition of disclosure does not appear to admit many exceptions, the return to the supplier of information supplied to IRS appears to be one. Arguably, therefore, it is not a disclosure for IRS to return taxpayer records supplied by a United States Attorney to that United States Attorney, provided that no supplementary tax material prepared by IRS is included. Likewise, "disclosure" by the prosecutor of a return obtained pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6103(i)(1) to the taxpayer who filed the return with IRS would not appear to be prohibited because no "making known" of information is involved.

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 501; Criminal Resource Manual 512]