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Verification of Returns. The annual return must be verified by the oath of the person making the same. The affidavit may be made before the collector of the district or before any officer authorized by law to administer oaths.24 Revenue agents, inspectors and special employees, 25 or any clerk in the office of the collector, 26 may, if commissioned as deputy collectors, take the oath of taxpayers. If a return is executed before a notary in a state where the law does not require the notary to use a seal, and none is used, a certificate of a clerk of court or other officer possessing a seal, showing that he is duly commissioned and authorized to administer oaths, should be filed with the Commissioner; otherwise the return will not be accepted, 27 unless, as may be done, the collector waives this requirement in states where jurats are accepted in the state courts either with or without a seal, and without certificate showing author
VERIFICATION ABROAD. An individual residing abroad may acknowledge his return before any duly appointed officer of the country in which he resides, authorized to administer oaths and use an official seal.29
VERIFICATION IN ARMY AND Navy. Any officer in the Naval or Military service of the United States, within or without the United States, who is authorized to administer oaths for the purpose of Military justice and administration or Naval justice and administration, may take the acknowledgments of persons in the Naval and Military services. 29a
24 Reg. 33, Art. 22. 25 T. D. 2235, T. D. 2238. 26 T. D. 2293. 27 T. D. 2090. 28 T. D. 2174. 29 T. D. 2090.
Assistance of Collectors. Any assistance or information, which may be needed in connection with the preparing and filing of income tax returns, is required to be furnished by the collector upon request. Questions regarding the tax will be answered upon inquiry at the Internal Revenue offices. When questions are directed to the Treasury Department at Washington asking for information which should be supplied by collectors, the letters are referred to the collectors for reply and the writers are advised accordingly.30
Return Made by Collector. If the taxpayer fails to. file a return as required by law, but consents to disclose the particulars of his income, it is the duty of the collector or deputy collector to make the return, which, being distinctly read and consented to, signed, and verified by the taxpayer, may be received as the return of the taxpayer.31 If the taxpayer neglects or refuses to make the return, or makes a wilfully false or fraudulent return, it is the duty of the collector, after due notice, to make the return according to the best information he can obtain by the examination of such person, or any other evidence. When duly certified by the collector, such return is treated as the return of the taxpayer and the tax and penalty are assessed thereon.32
29a T. D. 2534. 30 T. D. 1949, T. D. 1956. 31 Reg. 33, Art. 20. 32 Reg. 33, Art. 21.
Erroneous Returns. If'a return is improperly prepared, it is returned by the collector to the taxpayer for correction, and the corrected return is accepted without penalty, provided the incorrect return showing the date of its receipt accompanies the corrected return.3
Amended Returns. Where upon an audit of a return of an individual, a fiduciary, or a withholding agent, or as a result of an investigation made by a revenue agent, an additional tax is assessed, it is not necessary to file an amended return. Notice of the additional assessment will be given to the taxpayer by letter from the Treasury Department.34 Where a corporation is called upon by a revenue inspector to make amended returns, the officers of the corporation will be given the fullest opportunity to make any investigation they may desire prior to signing such amended returns, provided, of course, such investigation does not cover an unreasonable length of time.35 In 1915 and 1916 it was the practice of the Treasury Department to send out a letter to corporations whenever items on the return were reached, concerning which more detailed information was sought, referring to the return and briefly requesting information regarding one or more items therein. The letter ended with a statement that in the absence of an explanatory affidavit, at the end of thirty days from the date of the letter, the entire amount of the
33 Mimeograph No. 11 to Collectors. 34 Mimeograph letter No. 1232 to Collectors.
35 Letter from Treasury Department dated February 2, 1915; I. T. S. 1917, | 1618.
deductions questioned would be suspended and an assessment returned accordingly.36
Notice of Failure to File Returns. When the collector possesses any information which leads him to believe that any person in his district was in receipt of income for the year and did not make a return, he is required to serve a notice calling attention to the failure and to the fact that penalties for failure have been incurred. The notice also calls attention to the fact that if the return is not filed, within ten days from the date thereof, the books and papers of the taxpayer will be examined and a return prepared therefrom as provided by law.37
Inspection of Returns by the Public. The income tax law is specific and mandatory in the matter of safeguarding from publicity the information acquired by reason of its requirements relative to annual returns of income. The law imposes on employees of the Government a penalty of fine, imprisonment, dismissal from office and forfeiture of right to hold office, for making known in any manner not provided by the law, the amount or source of income, or any particulars thereof, set forth or disclosed in an income return by any person. All internal revenue officers are cautioned to preserve as confidential all income tax returns.38 The returns
36 1. T. S. 1917, s1623.
37 Reg. 33, Art. 196. This notice is sent out on Form 1045. For the first year of the income tax, March 1 to December 31, 1913, the collector sent out an informal letter as a preliminary to the formal notice. This letter invited the taxpayer to make a return without penalty within ten days but the letter was not used in subsequent years.
38 T. D. 2135, T. D. 1962.
on which assessments have been made are filed in the office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and constitute public records and are open to inspection as such, but only upon order of the President and under rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury and approved by the President:39 It was held that a similar provision of the 1909 Law permitting the inspection of returns was not unconstitutional.40 Under date of July 28, 1914, the President issued an executive order, that returns should be subject to inspection in accordance with certain rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury of the same date.
RETURNS MUST BE INSPECTED AT WASHINGTON. Returns can be inspected by the public only in the office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in Washington. No collector or any other internal revenue officer outside of the Treasury Department in Washington is authorized to permit the inspection of any return, or to furnish any information whatsoever relative to any return or any information secured by him in his official capacity relating to such return. No provision is made in the law for furnishing a copy of any return to any person or corporation and no copy will be furnished to any other than the person or corporation making the return, or their duly constituted attorney, except in the case where copies are furnished to officers of the Department of Justice for use in suits.41
RETURNS OF INDIVIDUALS. Returns of individuals are not open to the inspection of any person other than the
39 Act of September 8, 1916, § 14 (b). 40 Flint v. Stone Tracy Co., 220 U. S. 107. 41 T. D. 2016.