It is a well established principal of law that it is a violation of a person’s 4th Amendment rights if a consent search is induced by deceit, trickery or misrepresentation by the IRS.
Courts will suppress evidence obtained by deceit, trickery or misrepresentation.
The Tweel Doctrine is named after a famous 5th Circuit case. The basics of the case were that the RICO section of the Department of Justice requested that an IRS audit be commenced against Mr. Tweel.
Mr. Tweel had previously been the subject of a criminal IRS investigation during a prior audit.
Mr. Tweel’s accountant asked the IRS examiner if there was a special agent involved. The IRS examiner said no – but failed to mention the involvement of the RICO section of the DOJ.
The 5th Circuit was incensed by this behavior and said:
We cannot condone this shocking conduct by the IRS. Our revenue system is based upon the good faith of the taxpayers and the taxpayers should be able to expect the same from the government in its enforcement and collection activities.
The Department of Justice’s own Tax Resource Manual notes that attorneys and agents must take care to avoid affirmative misrepresentations.
While the Tweel Doctrine can be a powerful tool – great care must be taken when confronting the IRS agents when suspicions of a criminal investigation is involved.