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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

270C.32 SUBPOENAS.
    Subdivision 1. Authority to issue subpoenas. In addition to the authority to examine and
investigate granted under section 270C.31, and to carry out that authority, the commissioner may
issue subpoenas to compel a person, at a time and place reasonable under the circumstances, to
appear and give testimony, and to produce relevant books, records, papers, documents, and other
data, in whatever form, for inspection and copying.
    Subd. 2. Request by taxpayer for subpoena. When the commissioner has the authority
to issue a subpoena, the commissioner shall honor a reasonable request by a taxpayer to issue a
subpoena.
    Subd. 3. Third-party subpoena where taxpayer's identity is known. (a) An examination
or investigation may extend to a person that the commissioner determines has access to
information that may be relevant to the examination or investigation. When a subpoena requiring
the production of records as described in subdivision 1 is served on a third-party record keeper,
written notice of the subpoena must be mailed to the taxpayer and to any other person who is
identified in the subpoena. The notices must be given within three days of the day on which the
subpoena is served. The notice required by this subdivision is sufficient if it is mailed to the
last known address of the addressee.
(b) The provisions of this subdivision regarding notice to the taxpayer or other parties
identified in the subpoena do not apply if there is reasonable cause to believe that the giving
of notice may lead to attempts to conceal, destroy, or alter records or assets relevant to
the examination, to prevent the communication of information from other persons through
intimidation, bribery, or collusion, or to flee to avoid prosecution, testifying, or production of
records.
    Subd. 4. Third-party subpoena where taxpayer's identity is not known. (a) The
commissioner may issue a subpoena that does not identify the person or persons with respect to
whose liability the subpoena is issued, but only if:
(1) the subpoena relates to the investigation of a particular person or ascertainable group
or class of persons;
(2) there is a reasonable basis to believe that the person or group or class of persons may fail
or may have failed to comply with a state revenue law;
(3) the information sought to be obtained from the examination of the records, and the
identity of the person or persons with respect to whose liability the subpoena is issued, is not
readily available from other sources;
(4) the subpoena is clear and specific as to the information sought to be obtained; and
(5) the information sought to be obtained is limited solely to the scope of the investigation.
(b) The party served with a subpoena that does not identify the person or persons with respect
to whose tax liability the subpoena is issued shall, within 20 days after service of the subpoena,
petition the district court for the judicial district of the county in which that party is located
for a determination as to whether the commissioner has complied with all the requirements in
paragraph (a), clauses (1) to (5), and thus, whether the subpoena is enforceable. If no petition
is made by the party served within the time prescribed, the subpoena shall have the force and
effect of a court order.
    Subd. 5. Access to records in connection with examination of businesses located outside
the state. (a) In order to determine whether a business located outside the state of Minnesota
is required to file a return under a law administered by the commissioner, the commissioner
may examine the relevant records and files of the business. To the full extent permitted by the
Minnesota and United States Constitutions, the commissioner may compel production of those
relevant records and files by subpoena. The subpoena may be served on the secretary of state
along with the address to which service of the subpoena is to be sent and a fee of $50. The
secretary of state shall forward a copy of the subpoena to the business using the procedures for
service of process in section 5.25, subdivision 6.
(b) The commissioner shall pay the reasonable cost of producing records subject to subpoena
under this subdivision if:
(1) the subpoenaed party cannot produce the records without undue burden; and
(2) the examination made pursuant to paragraph (a) shows that the subpoenaed party is not
required to file a return under a law administered by the commissioner.
    Subd. 6. Demand for court administrator's subpoena. In addition to administrative
subpoenas of the commissioner, upon demand of the commissioner or an agent of the
commissioner, the court administrator of any district court shall issue a subpoena for a witness to
appear before the agent, or for the production of relevant books, records, papers, documents, and
other data, in whatever form, to the agent for inspection and copying.
    Subd. 7. Enforcement of subpoenas. Failure to comply with a subpoena shall be punished
in the same manner as contempt of the district court in the following venues:
(1) the district court of the district in which a court administrator's subpoena is issued under
subdivision 6;
(2) the district court of the district in which the party served with a subpoena is located, when
the subpoena is issued by the commissioner or the commissioner's agent; and
(3) the District Court for Ramsey County, when a subpoena is issued under subdivision 5.
In addition to contempt remedies, the court may issue any order it deems reasonable to enforce
compliance with a subpoena issued under subdivision 5.
    Subd. 8. Penalty for violating court order to comply with subpoena. In addition to
sanctions imposed under subdivision 7, a penalty of $250 per day is imposed on any business that
is in violation of a court order to comply with a subpoena that is seeking information necessary
for the commissioner to be able to determine whether the business is required to file a return or
pay a tax. The maximum penalty is $25,000. Upon the request of the commissioner, the court
shall determine the amount of the penalty and enter it as a judgment in favor of the commissioner.
The penalty is not payable until the judgment is entered.
    Subd. 9. Cost of production of records. The cost of producing records of a third party
required by a subpoena must be paid by the taxpayer, if the taxpayer requests the subpoena to
be issued, or if the taxpayer has the records available but has refused to provide them to the
commissioner. In other cases where the taxpayer cannot produce records and the commissioner
then issues a subpoena for third-party records, the commissioner shall pay the reasonable cost
of producing the records. The commissioner may later assess the reasonable costs against the
taxpayer if the records contribute to the determination of an assessment of tax against the taxpayer.
    Subd. 10. Limitation of authority. The authority granted in this section to the commissioner
and the commissioner's agents does not apply to a matter that has been appealed to Tax Court.
History: 2005 c 151 art 1 s 35