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IRS Statute of Limitations: Tax Collections

The statute of limitations limits the time for the IRS tax collection activities. Generally, there is a ten-year statute of limitations for the IRS collection of owed taxes. Thus, for assessments of tax or levy made after November 5, 1990, the IRS cannot collect or levy any tax ten years after the date of assessment of tax or levy. See 26 U.S.C. §6502(a)(1). Court proceedings must also be started by the IRS within the 10 year statute of limitations. Treas. Reg. Section 301.6502-1(a)(1).

For assessments of tax or levy made on or before November 5, 1990, the IRS cannot either collect or levy any tax six years after the date of assessment of tax or levy. See 26 U.S.C. §6501(e). However, if the six-year period ends after November 5, 1990, the statute of limitations is extended to ten years. Hence, in order to come under the six-year statute of limitations, the six-year period must end prior to November 5, 1990.

The ten-year statute of limitations can be extended by agreement between the taxpayer and the IRS, provided that the agreement is made prior to the expiration of the ten-year period. See 26 U.S.C. §6501(c)(4).

Thus, in figuring out the applicable statute of limitations, you must understand: the starting date for the running of the statute of limitations, any exceptions to the tolling of the statute of limitations, the last day that the IRS can audit a tax return, and the last day that the IRS can collect overdue tax on a tax return.

Sherayzen Law Office can help you understand all of these issues and represent your interests in your negotiations with the IRS.

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IRS Statute of Limitations: Taxpayer Audit

The tax statute of limitations limits the time during which an action can be brought by the IRS for an audit. The general rule is that IRS has three years from the filing date to audit a tax return. 26 U.S.C. §6501(a) and Treas. Reg. §301.6501(a)-1(a). Similarly, under Treas. Reg. 301.6501(a)-1(b) no proceeding in court by the IRS without assessment for the collection of any tax can begin after the expiration of three years.

However, if the taxpayer fails to report on his tax return an amount in excess of 25% of the gross income (as stated on the filed tax return), then the statute of limitations is increased to six years. 26 U.S.C. §6501(e).

If the tax return was prepared by the IRS under the authority of section 26 U.S.C. §6020(b) the statute of limitations simply does not apply. See 26 U.S.C. §6501(b)(3). Likewise, the statute of limitations does not apply in the case of a false tax return or fraudulent tax return filed with the IRS with intent to evade any tax. See 26 U.S.C. §6501(c)(1).

This essay states only the general rules. The statute spells out numerous exceptions to these general rules. Therefore, even though most of the situations are resolved by the general rule, it is best to consult your tax attorney to see if your situation fits into one of the exceptions.

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