Federal Circuit: Compelling Release of Data Violates Disclosure Prohibition

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In a case of first impression, the Federal Circuit holds IRS could not be compelled to turn over excise tax-related test data in light of the Internal Revenue Code's general prohibition against disclosure of tax return information. In a per curiam opinion, the Federal Circuit says the scope of tax code Section 6103(h)(B)(4) “has created a split within the United States Court of Federal Claims” and “[h]earing the issue will thus bring needed uniformity to this area of the law.” The Federal Claims was directed to vacate its April 2011 order compelling the United States to turn over audit tests and related information arising from a dispute over the excise tax paid by Panasonic for importing products containing ozone depleting chemicals.