Supreme Court to Decide if IRS Can Secretly Obtain Bank Records

Among other high-profile issues, the Supreme Court is considering a case involving taxpayer privacy and the IRS.

image of the U.S. Supreme Court building
(Image credit: joe daniel price/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court is in the news lately because of the controversy surrounding federal court rulings on the medication mifepristone, which is sometimes referred to as an "abortion pill." But you might not have heard that the Supreme Court is also set to decide whether when a taxpayer owes money, the IRS can obtain bank records from that taxpayer’s relatives — without notice — to help with the agency’s tax collection efforts.

The answer to that question likely won’t come until early this summer when the Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling in Polselli v. IRS. But the case, which comes as the IRS has been allocated $80 billion in funding over the next 10 years, raises important questions about taxpayer privacy and IRS authority that are good to know. 

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Kelley R. Taylor
Senior Tax Editor,

As the senior tax editor at, Kelley R. Taylor simplifies federal and state tax information, news, and developments to help empower readers. Kelley has over two decades of experience advising on and covering education, law, finance, and tax as a corporate attorney and business journalist.