The IRS has released proposed regulations that implement new Code Sec. 7602(f), which bars non-government persons who are hired by the IRS from questioning a witness under oath whose testimony was obtained pursuant to a summons issued under Code Sec. 7602. The regulations prohibit any IRS contractors from asking a summoned person’s representative to clarify an objection or assertion of privilege. The IRS has also withdrawn a notice of proposed rulemaking ( NPRM REG-132434-17) that contained proposed rules addressing the participation of persons described under Code Sec. 6103(n) in the interview of a summoned witness and excluding certain non-government attorneys from participating in an IRS examination.
The 2016 Summons Interview Regulations under Reg. §301.7602-1(b)(3) were issued, in part, to clarify that persons described in Code Sec. 6103(n) and Reg. §301.6103(n)-1(a) may receive and review books, papers, records, or other data summoned by the IRS. The regulations were also issued to clarify that, in the presence and under the guidance of an IRS officer or employee, these non-government persons could participate fully in the interview of a person whom the IRS had summoned as a witness to provide testimony under oath, allowing a contractor to ask a summoned witness substantive questions. Code Sec. 7602(f) was enacted by section 1208 of the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 ( P.L. 116-25).
Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by October 6, 2020. Commenters are strongly encouraged to submit public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov (indicate IRS and REG-132434-17) by following the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted on paper will be considered to the extent practicable. The Treasury Department and the IRS will publish for public availability any comment submitted electronically, and to the extent practicable on paper, to its public docket. Paper submissions can be sent to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-132434-17), room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044.