The Supreme Court's decision last week to let stand a lower court ruling that the Internal Revenue Service has the authority to demand to see a company's tax work papers has increased concerns that the IRS will become more aggressive about requesting such documents.

The case involved an IRS request that Textron, the Providence, R.I.-based aerospace and defense supplier, give the agency access to papers, including a tax reserve summary spreadsheet, that related to lease-back deals and had been prepared by the company's in-house counsel. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the IRS should have access, triggering Textron's appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Textron decision isn't the only factor indicating increased interest in such information on the part of the IRS. The agency announced in January that it wants companies to begin providing it with a list of their uncertain tax positions, including the tax years involved and the amount of federal income tax the company would owe if the position were disallowed.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.