Discovery Tools, Request for Production of Documents

There are several ways you can ask for documents in informal discovery. See Rules 72 and 73.

First, you can make informal requests of both your opponent and any non-hostile third parties, for copies of or the opportunity to copy, documents you need to establish your facts at trial.

Electronically stored information is subject to discovery in the same way hard-copy documents are. This includes things like e-mail messages and computer files. These files are generally produced in the format in which they were created. Neither party has an obligation to reformat information for the other party’s convenience, if, for instance, one party does not have the necessary software required to view the documents or files.

You can ask for documents generally without knowing their exact titles or names, but you should avoid requests that are overly broad. For example, a request for “all IRS documents showing Petitioner is liable for the income tax” would probably be objected to as vague, overly broad, or overly burdensome. Whereas, a request for “all documents, reports, notes, returns, forms, or writings created by Agent Ima Geeman concerning petitioner for the year 2004” would probably be specific enough to get you what you are looking for.

You want to ask for all documents in a person’s “possession and control” rather than just their possession. This will prevent inadvertently allowing someone to weasel out of providing a document he left with his attorney, or at Mom’s house.

When you receive a Request for Production of Documents, you can produce them in a variety of ways, depending on how they are kept and how many documents there are. If there aren’t that many, you can make copies and mail them off to the requester. You can also bring originals …

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The author is not an attorney. He does not offer legal advice. His book and this website provide information about conducting a case in U.S. Tax Court without an attorney. The information is generally available from public sources, including, among others, the website of the United States Tax Court, law libraries, the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Internal Revenue Manual, and other publicly and privately published sources. The author has included information acquired from personal experience conducting and observing Tax Court cases.

You should not use the book or this website as a final authority on any matter it discusses. Should you have questions about the law or its application to your situation, the author and publisher recommend you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel.