Individual’s Informal Claim Was Timely; Court Had Jurisdiction

18 October 2019

A district court had subject-matter jurisdiction in a case where an individual had timely filed a refund claim. The government brought a motion to dismiss the taxpayer’s claim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because the remittance she sent to the IRS was not a formal claim but a payment and the limitations period for filing an administrative claim expired two years from that date. The taxpayer argued that her remittance should be considered as a deposit and that even if the remittance she made was a payment, her civil action was not barred because the allegations in the complaint showed that she submitted an informal claim long before the deadline. Further, the taxpayer contended that her informal claim was followed by a formal claim that remedied any formal defects or lack of specificity and it was sufficient to render her civil action timely under the informal claim doctrine. The IRS did not dispute that it received the letter and the taxpayer’s IRS account conclusively reflected the payment that was enclosed with the letter. Since a timely claim was a jurisdictional prerequisite to an action for recovery of taxes paid, the taxpayer timely filed an informal claim when she submitted her letter to the IRS and subsequently filed a valid refund claim; therefore, under the informal claim doctrine, the court had subject matter-jurisdiction and the government’s motion was denied.