How to handle a "fishing expedition" request from the IRS
Identify overly-broad information document requests early
At the beginning of every IRS exam, taxpayers receive a series of information document requests (IDRs) designed to help the IRS gather data required to complete the exam. Three of these IDRs are fairly standard: IDR 1, Tax Shelter IDR and Transfer Pricing IDR. Next, the IRS sends issue-focused IDRs designed to get the more specific information needed to investigate the tax issue at hand.
If you receive an IDR that seems overly-broad or not focused on the issue under exam, also known as a “fishing expedition IDR”, you should be careful in your response.