A husband and wife filed income taxes separately, and the husband incurred a tax debt to the Internal Revenue Service. Then the I.R.S. seized a $70,000 certificate of deposit from the taxpayer's wife, which she claimed to be her separate property.

She filed for a Taxpayer Assistance Order (TAO) through the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). They denied her relief. She then filed an administrative claim for refund, which was also denied.

She then sued the government in U.S. District Court, but the court ruled that she wasn't a "taxpayer"  for purposes of the TAO statute and even if she was, the filing of the TAO did not toll or stop the running of the 9 month statute of limitations to sue the government, which had run before she filed suit. 26 U.S.C. Sec. 7811, 7811(d).

On appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court ruled that the wife is considered a taxpayer under the Taxpayer Assistance Order statute, and that the filing of a TAO tolls the 9 month statute of. limitations for filing a claim for refund, and reversed and remanded the case. Rothkamm v. U.S.A.; Internal Revenue Service, 5th Cir. 2015.

I think this is a very well-reasoned case. The wife has a chance to get her money back. What do you think? Do you think the Court ruled properly? Please leave your questions or comments below.

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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