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An administrative summons or administrative subpoena is a judicially enforceable demand for records issued by a government authority which is authorized by some other provision of law to issue such process. Administrative process is governed by 12 U.S.C. §3405.
One example of an administrative summons is found in the U.S. tax law. The Internal Revenue Code authorizes the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue a summons for a taxpayer — or any person having custody of books of account relating to a business of a taxpayer — to appear before the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate (generally, this means the IRS employee who issued the summons) at the time and place named in the summons. The person summoned may be required to produce books, papers, records, or other data, and to give testimony under oath before an IRS employee.
The IRS is also empowered to issue the section 7602 summons for the purpose of "inquiring into any offense connected with the administration or enforcement of the internal revenue laws."
The summons may be enforced by a court order, and the law provides a criminal penalty of up to one year in prison or a fine, or both, for failure to obey the summons, except that the person summoned may, to the extent applicable, assert a privilege against self-incrimination or other evidentiary privileges, if applicable.
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