Commissioner May Examine Taxpayer’s Records for Years Barred by Statute of Limitations Without Proving Reasonable Suspicion of Fraud–United States v. Powell

The Commissioner of Internal Revenue has power to summon witnesses and to examine records in order to ascertain the correctness of a taxpayer’s return. If a summons is not obeyed or if the records sought are not produced, the Commissioner may seek enforcement by applying to the proper federal district court. Although the Commissioner’s investigative powers are broad, they are not unlimited. In the absence of fraud, he must act within the confines of a three-year statute of limitations. In addition, the Code makes it abundantly clear that taxpayers may not be subjected to unnecessary examinations or investigations and that records sought must be relevant or material.