Skip to main content

Mertes v. IRS, No. 19-1218, 2020 WL 3491036 (E.D. Cal. June 25, 2020) (Ishii, J.)


Mertes v. IRS, No. 19-1218, 2020 WL 3491036 (E.D. Cal. June 25, 2020) (Ishii, J.)

Re:  Request for United States Gift Tax Form that was used to assess gift taxes against plaintiff

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion to submit documents in camera

  • Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection:  "Initially, there is no objection to the IRS submitting the . . . Form 709 to the Court for in camera review."  "Thus, the Court will permit the in camera submission of that document."  However, the court relates that "[a]part from the . . . Form 709 itself, the IRS's request for in camera inspection is broad."  "The IRS wishes to submit the unredacted motion for summary judgment, the unredacted supporting affidavit, the unredacted statement of facts, and an additional non-publicly filed declaration that further explains the basis for the claimed exemption."  The court also notes that "[b]y simply publicly citing Exemption 7[, as opposed to specific subparts of Exemption 7], the IRS is making [plaintiff] guess as to six, not one, possible reasons for exemption."  "Despite the above, [the court holds that] the IRS has now represented through two motions that it cannot provide any further details without compromising the basis for withholding the . . . Form 709."  "Given the IRS's representations in two motions that no further information can be provided publicly, the Court will permit the IRS to attempt to demonstrate that this is an 'exceptional case' . . . and to submit the requested documents for in camera review."  "No other procedure is apparent that does not risk disclosure of information that could otherwise be lawfully withheld."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection
Updated July 23, 2020