Untimely Refund Claims

I.R.C. section 6511

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the applicable refund statute and upheld a Tax Court ruling in Lorraine K. Linton and John R. Linton v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 18-9004 filed February 22, 2019. The IRS disallowed the Linton’s refund request for the 2008 tax year as untimely. They had paid the amount claimed as a refund more than three years and six months before they filed the return on which they claimed the refund. The Court ruled that two Code provisions govern the timeliness of a refund claim. First, the taxpayer must file the claim within three years after filing the tax return or two years after paying the tax, whichever happens later, per section 6511(a). Second, the amount of the refund is limited to the portion of the tax paid in the three years “immediately preceding the filing of the claim…plus the period of any extension of time for filing the return.” See section 6511(b)(2)(A). In this case, the taxpayers clearly filed beyond these time limits, but were arguing their CP59 response (a notice indicating there is no return filed), was an adequate claim for refund.  They made this argument because their response was within the relevant timeframe.  The Court disagreed and ruled the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Brockamp, 519 U.W. 347 (1997) clearly held section 6511 limitations must be strictly enforced.