Extended Tax Court Due Dates – Interplay of Guralnik and Notice 2020-23

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Yesterday, the IRS added a new Q & A to its coronavirus page:

Q. How does this notice operate with the Tax Court case of Guralnik v. Commissioner, 146 T.C. 230 (2016), which applied Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 6(a)(3)(A) to provide additional time for the filing of a petition when the clerk’s office was closed due to a snow emergency?  Does the taxpayer get the benefit of both periods?

A. Yes, a taxpayer will get the benefit of both periods.  For example, if the last day for filing a petition fell on March 19, 2020, the date that the Tax Court closed, the taxpayer will get the benefit of Guralnik from March 19, 2020 and the benefit of this notice from April 1, 2020 until July 15, 2020.  If the court were to reopen before the expiration of the notice postponement period, the taxpayer will get the benefit of the postponement until July 15, 2020.  If the court reopens after the notice postponement period (that is, after July 15, 2020), the due date for the taxpayer’s petition is extended to the Tax Court’s reopening date under Guralnik and the relief under Notice 2020-23 does not apply.

When I wrote about the interplay of Tax Court deadlines in a prior post, I hedged on how the two provisions would interact and counseled caution.  While the IRS cannot confer jurisdiction on the Tax Court, the Q&A goes a long way in providing comfort that the extension of the Tax Court due date by Guralnik into the period in which the 7508A extension comes into being causes the potentially longer 7508A period to come into play and provide the taxpayer with the benefit of both extensions.

It is great that the IRS, through the Office of Chief Counsel, has provided this guidance.  If you are interested in hearing more about Tax Court timing issues, tune into the CLE program sponsored by the ABA Tax Section tomorrow.  Details here:

The Agony of a Missed Tax Court Deadline, Or, Was That Deadline Really Missed? | April 29 at 1:00 pm Eastern

This webinar is free for ABA Members, LITC and Government Employees.

This timely webinar will discuss issues associated with what may be missed tax court filing deadlines, missed administrative appeal deadlines, and extended refund claim deadlines in an extraordinary time. Potential issues include those associated with access to the court, returned mail from the court, the closing of the court, and the extend filing and claim relief IRS is providing in Notice 2020-23. The IRS has opened the door to jurisdictional relief, and the panelists will discuss that relief as well as the interplay of court rules and court decisions including and since Guralnik to clarify the complex litigating position in which some petitioners may find themselves.

Keith Fogg, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Federal Tax Clinic, Legal Services Center, Harvard Law School (Moderator)
Sheri Dillon, Partner, Morgan Lewis & Bockius
Carlton Smith, Volunteer, Tax Clinic at the Legal Services Center, Harvard Law School
Elizabeth Maresca, Clinical Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
Drita Tonuzi, Deputy Chief Counsel (Operations), Internal Revenue Service

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