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Tax Court's Invalidation of Deadline in Filing of Innocent-Spouse Application Reversed

By FindLaw Staff on June 08, 2010 3:31 PM

In Lantz v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, No. 09-3345, the Seventh Circuit faced a challenge to the Tax Court's judgment invalidating the two-year deadline that the Treasury has imposed on claims under section 6015(f), and thus reversing the IRS's denial of a taxpayer's application for innocent-spouse relief.

As the court wrote: "The Tax Court's basic thought seems to have been that since some statutes...prescribe deadlines, whenever a statute (or provision) fails to prescribe a deadline, there is none.  That is not how statutes that omit a statute of limitations are usually interpreted.  Courts 'borrow' a statute of limitations from some other statute..."

Thus, in reversing the Tax Court's judgment, the court held that the fact that Congress designated a deadline in two provisions of the same statute and not in a third is not a compelling argument that Congress meant to preclude the Treasury Department from imposing a deadline applicable to cases governed by that third provision.     

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