Hunter Biden has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service alleging unlawful violations of his taxpayer information. Read the lawsuit, Robert Hunter Biden v. United States Internal Revenue Service, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 1:23-cv-02711, filed September 18, 2023.
Biden essentially argues that the IRS whistleblowers, when they came forward, disclosed his confidential taxpayer information during media interviews and during congressional testimony. As every Internal Revenue Service employee (and every Department of Justice Tax Division employee such as myself) knows, preserving the confidentiality of taxpayer information is a serious obligation.
26 U.S.C. Section 6103 is the statute that protects confidential taxpayer information. As explained in Mr. Biden’s complaint:
Title 26, U.S.C. § 6103 provides that tax “[r]eturns and return information shall be confidential” and prohibits disclosure and inspection by United States employees and other defined persons, except as specifically authorized in the provision. The IRS publicizes this right of confidentiality as part of its “The Taxpayer Bill of Rights.”3 As the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has explained: “This general ban on disclosure provides essential protection for the taxpayer; it guarantees that the sometimes sensitive or otherwise personal information in a return will be guarded from persons not directly engaged in processing or inspecting the return for tax administration purposes. The assurance of privacy secured by § 6103 is fundamental to a tax system that relies upon self-reporting.” Gardner v. United States, 213 F.3d 735, 738 (D.C. Cir. 2000).
The complaint then alleges some of the violations:
The repeated disclosures and the media appearances in which they were made make clear that the IRS’s public disclosures of Mr. Biden’s tax return information did not result from a “good faith, but erroneous interpretation of section 6103,” but rather from a knowing violation, gross negligence, or negligence. The IRS’s knowledge, or at least negligence, is evident because in his April 19, 2023 interview on John Solomon Reports, Attorney A stated that IRS agents are “trained in . . . Title 26 U.S.C. Section 6103.” Further, “Majority Counsel 1” of the Committee on Ways and Means stated that the Committee “considers this entire interview and the resulting transcript as protected confidential information under Section 6103.” “Majority Counsel 1” further stated that “26 U.S.C. Section 7213 makes it unlawful to make any disclosure of returns or return information not authorized by Section 6103. Moreover, IRS agents are trained in complying with the confidentiality requirements of Section 6103.4 Unauthorized disclosures of such information can be a felony punishable by fine or imprisonment.”
We shall provide updates here as the situation warrants.