Rule 26(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that parties submit written reports for all expert witnesses they except to testify in a given case. FED. R. CIV. P. 26(a)(2). The report must contain a number of things, including a “statement of the compensation to be paid for the study and testimony in the case.” Id. Rule 26(b) outlines the limits of discovery and notes anything that can be considered pertinent or relevant to the case and is non-privileged is considered discoverable, and discoverable information must not necessarily be admissible. Id. In previous cases, expert witnesses have been required to disclose “the percentage of his gross income earned for each of the preceding five years attributable to performing expert witness services” in order for the opposing side to impeach the witness. Behler v. Hanlon, 199 F.R.D. 553 (D. Md. 2001).
There is no need for expert witnesses to produce tax returns so long as the party requesting them has “accurate information regarding the percentage of income earned as an expert.” Id. In order for tax returns to be considered discoverable, it must be shown that the tax “returns are relevant and that there is a compelling need” to produce the returns. Hawkins v. South Plains Intern. Trucks, Inc., 139 F.R.D. 679 (D. Colo. 1991). But, the party presenting the witness must either produce information relating to expert’s income or allow the expert to be deposed regarding its income. Id. Federal Courts have previously labeled requesting tax returns of expert witnesses to be a “fishing expedition” and that requiring the tax returns to be produced could result in bias and result in fewer experts being allowed to testify in such capacity. Campos v. MTD Products, Inc., (D. Tenn. 2009).