The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Magistrate Judge Arbuckle)
OPINION AND ORDER PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This is a civil action to enforce an Internal Revenue Service (hereinafter IRS) Summons. A petition filed by the IRS (Document #1) resulted in an Order to Show Cause (Document #2). Defendant, Dean P. Olvany (hereinafter Olvany) filed a pro se response asserting substantive and procedural defenses (Document #4). The matter was referred by the District Judge to a Magistrate Judge for purposes of a hearing (Document #5). All parties appeared at the hearing held on January 27, 2012 in Williamsport.
During the hearing Counsel for the government suggested that the matter required the consent of the parties to proceed before a Magistrate Judge. Consent of the parties was not given and the hearing concluded with the announcement that a Report and Recommendation would be submitted to the District Judge for decision. However, after reviewing the applicable statues this Court concludes that consent to proceed before a Magistrate Judge is not required.
The statute authorizing judicial enforcement of an IRS Summons states in relevant part: 26 U.S.C. §7604(b) Enforcement.--Whenever any person summoned under section . 7602 neglects or refuses to obey such summons, or to produce books, papers, records, or other data, or to give testimony, as required, the Secretary may apply to the judge of the district court or to a United States commissioner for the district within which the person so summoned resides or is found for an attachment against him as for a contempt. It shall be the duty of the judge or commissioner to hear the application, and, if satisfactory proof is made, to issue an attachment, directed to some proper officer, for the arrest of such person, and upon his being brought before him to proceed to a hearing of the case; and upon such hearing the judge or the United States commissioner shall have power to make such order as he shall deem proper, not inconsistent with the law for the punishment of contempts, to enforce obedience to the requirements of the summons and to punish such person for his default or disobedience. (emphasis added).
The office of United Sates Commissioner no longer exists, but the powers and duties of that office were transferred to the U.S. Magistrate Judges. The Federal Magistrates Act of 1968 established the Unites States magistrate judge system, building upon and superseding the 175 year old United States commissioners system. The authority of a Magistrate Judge is found in the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure Act at Section 636 which states:
28 U.S.C. § 636. Jurisdiction, powers, and temporary assignment
(a) Each United States magistrate judge serving under this chapter shall have within the district in which sessions are held by the court that appointed the magistrate judge, at other places where that court may function, and elsewhere as authorized by law--(1) all powers and duties conferred or imposed upon United States commissioners by law or by the Rules of Criminal Procedure for the United States District Courts; (emphasis added). .
This matter was originally assigned to Chief Judge Kane in accordance with the Middle District Case Assignment Policy. Judge Kane referred the case to the Magistrate Judge for hearing (Document #5). This matter will therefore be decided by the Magistrate Judge.
The IRS seeks judicial enforcement of a summons requiring the taxpayer to produce evidence of income for the period of January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011. The IRS requests this information to aid in its determination of the collectability of an assessment of taxes owed for calendar years 2003 and 2004. The IRS relies upon 26 U.S.C. §7602 and 7604(a) for its authority to request this information and to seek judicial enforcement of the subpoena.
26 U.S.C. §7602 states in relevant part:
(a) Authority to summon, etc.: For the purpose of . determining the liability of any person for any internal revenue tax ., or collecting any such ...