IRS Finally Extends Judicial and Refund Claim Filing Deadlines Because of COVID-19

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Today, Carl Smith brings us a quick analysis of the newest notice from the IRS on deadline extensions.  This broad notice gives deadline relief in many areas.  The post focuses on judicial and refund deadlines which are only a subset of the relief provided in the notice.  Note that pre-judicial deadlines such as the 30-day period to make a CDP request should also be extended by this notice and that the look back refund provision in IRC 6511(b) may be impacted by this notice.  This notice provides much relief that practitioners have been waiting for over the past few weeks.  Thanks to the IRS for using its muscular power in 7508A broadly.  Keith

Section 7508A allows the IRS to extend a number of deadlines because of Presidentially-declared disasters.  Most of the deadlines one thinks of involve filing tax forms, making elections, and paying taxes.  And, the IRS has been quick to issue a series of Notices under its authority because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Finally, though, in its latest expansive Notice 2020-23 extending even more tax deadlines because of COVID-19, the IRS got around to extending judicial and refund claim filing deadlines.  The extensions are for acts due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020.

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Reg. sec. 301.7508A-1(c)(1) allows the IRS to suspend the periods for:

(iv) Filing a petition with the Tax Court, or for review of a decision rendered by the Tax Court;

(v) Filing a claim for credit or refund of any tax;

(vi) Bringing suit upon a claim for credit or refund of any tax;

In Part III.A. of Notice 2020-23, 2020-18 I.R.B. 1, the IRS writes:

The Secretary of the Treasury has also determined that any person performing a time-sensitive action listed in either § 301.7508A-1(c)(1)(iv)-(vi) of the Procedure and Administration Regulations or Revenue Procedure 2018-58, 2018-50 IRB 990 (December 10, 2018), which is due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020 (Specified Time-Sensitive Action), is an Affected Taxpayer. 

In Part III.C. of the Notice, the IRS clarifies:

Affected Taxpayers also have until July 15, 2020, to perform all Specified Time-Sensitive Actions, that are due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. This relief includes the time for filing all petitions with the Tax Court, or for review of a decision rendered by the Tax Court, filing a claim for credit or refund of any tax, and bringing suit upon a claim for credit or refund of any tax. This notice does not provide relief for the time period for filing a petition with the Tax Court, or for filing a claim or bringing a suit for credit or refund if that period expired before April 1, 2020.

The last sentence of Part III.C. is a bit misleading, though.  Even though the IRS does not extend the period in which to file a Tax Court petition for any period before April 1, 2020, the result of the Tax Court’s opinion in Guralnik v. Commissioner, 146 T.C. 230 (2016), should be that the period to file a Tax Court petition has been extended from the time the Tax Court Clerk’s Office closed on March 19, 2020, until the Tax Court Clerk’s Office reopens for business (a time that is at this point uncertain).

Practitioners should also be careful about the IRS extension: While it extends the time to file a refund claim under section 6511, bring a refund suit under section 6532(a), bring any Tax Court suit (under, for example, sections 6213(a), 6330(d)(1), or 6015(e)(1)(A)), and appeal a Tax Court case under section 7483, it does not extend the time to file an appeal of a district court refund suit judgment to a court of appeals under 28 U.S.C. sec. 2107, and it does not extend the times to file other kinds of tax suits in district courts, such as a wrongful levy suit under section 6532(c) or a suit for damages from wrongful collection under section 7433(d)(3).  Equitable tolling may be used to extend some of the other district court filing deadlines, but not in most Circuits.

The extension of the refund claim filing deadline probably affects the most taxpayers because, for individual filers, the period to file a refund claim for 2016 income taxes, which would, for most, have expired on April 15, 2020, is now put off for three months.

About Carlton Smith

Carlton M. Smith worked (as an associate and partner) at Roberts & Holland LLP in Manhattan from 1983-1999. From 2003 to 2013, he was the Director of the Cardozo School of Law tax clinic. In his retirement, he volunteers with the tax clinic at Harvard, where he was Acting Director from January to June 2019.

Comments

  1. At the risk of being paranoid, my first thought in reading this notice was that the IRS was not extending the deadline for requesting collection due process because it was specifically omitted. (Note the limiting language in II). If the IRS wanted to include the 30-day response to CDP notices, it could have easily done so. I would also note that payments under an offer in compromise were also not specifically referenced. One would hope that it was the intent to include both CDP and OIC as affected taxpayers under this notice.
    That being said, I totally agree that the IRS should be given major kudos for trying to sort all this out during these unusual and trying times.

    • Larry Hess says

      How could Notice 2020-23 apply to the deadline for requesting a CDP hearing in view of the last paragraph of Section II of the notice that says:

      “The relief provided under section 7508A in this notice, Notice 2020-18, and Notice 2020-20, is limited to the relief explicitly provided in these notices and does not apply with respect to any other type of Federal tax, any other type of Federal tax return, or any other time-sensitive act.”

    • Carl Smith says

      In light of Howard’s comment and the comment of Larry Hess, Keith and the rest of us at PT are now not as sure of Keith’s statement at the opening of this post that the CDP filing deadlines in section 6320 and 6330 to file Forms 12153 are extended. There is conflicting language in the Notice referencing Rev. Proc. 2018-58, which contains a list of the vast bulk of time deadlines in the Code and ones that can be extended under section 7508A. Section 14.01(2) and (3) of the Rev. Proc. cite the CDP hearing filing deadlines. There may be a future post coming on these deadlines.

      As to Keith’s reference to the section 6511(b) payment deadline for refund claims, the regs. under 7508A give an example of a refund claim filed under a section 6511(a) extension to file a claim and indicate that the section 6511(b) payment look back period is also extended. See Reg. 301.7508A-1(f)(Example 5). Thus, the refund claim filing extension under section 7508A extends the section 6511(b) period just as do the regulations under section 7502 (the timely mailing is timely filing extension).

      • Lavar TAylor says

        “The Secretary of the Treasury has also determined that any person performing a time-sensitive action listed in either § 301.7508A-1(c)(1)(iv) – (vi) of the Procedure and Administration Regulations or Revenue Procedure 2018-58, 2018-50 IRB 990 (December 10, 2018), which is due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020 (Specified Time-Sensitive Action), is an Affected Taxpayer.”

        The quoted language above from the Notice appears to extend the time for filing a CDP request, since sections 14.01-2 and 14.01-3 of Rev. Proc. 2018-58 specifically mention the periods for filing CDP lien appeals and CDP levy appeals. They also mention the one year period for requesting an Equivalent Hearing.

        Since Rev. Proc. 2018-58 mentions a whole bunch of other deadlines, including deadlines applicable to like-kind exchanges, I’m certain that the intent of the notice was to extend the deadlines applicable to requests for CDP appeals.

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