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The US Supreme Court Has Ruled Against the IRS on a Jurisdictional Issue Before the Us Tax Court

The Supreme Court concluded in Boechler, P.C. v. Commissioner that the 30-day deadline for filing a Tax Court petition for review of a collection due process determination is not a jurisdictional requirement. The Supreme Court unanimously overturned the Eighth Circuit, finding that the Tax Court has the jurisdiction to review a late-filed petition in a collection due process matter.

A letter was sent to Boechler, a law practice in North Dakota, indicating a difference in its 2012 tax returns. When Boechler did not respond to the notification within 45 days, the IRS imposed an intentional disregard penalty and informed Boechler that the penalty and interest would be collected through a levy on Boechler’s property. Boechler requested a collection due process hearing before the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals in response to the notice. The exhibition owing process hearing was held by the Independent Office of Appeals, which issued a statement of determination upholding the proposed tax. The United States Tax Court can examine a collection due process determination. Boechler has 30 days from the date of the notice of the decision to file a petition with the Tax Court under IRC 6330(d)(1). By mailing its petition one day late, Boechler missed the deadline. The Tax Court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction, and the Eighth Circuit upheld the decision.

The Decision of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court looked at IRC 6330(d)(1) to see if Congress said explicitly that the 30-day limit is jurisdictional. “A person may petition the Tax Court for review of such determination (and the Tax Court shall have jurisdiction about such subject) within 30 days after a determination under this section,” according to IRC 6330(d)(1). Because there are various reasonable interpretations of the text, the Supreme Court decided that it does not clearly command that the 30-day limit is jurisdictional. The term “such matter” can refer to one of the following: (1) a “petition [to] the Tax Court for review of such determination”; (2) a petition to the Tax Court that “arises from a determination under this section” and was filed “within 30 days” of that determination; (3) “such determination”; or (4) the list of “[m]atters” that may be considered during the collection due process hearing under IRC 6330. (c). According to the Supreme Court, other tax rules established about the same period, unlike IRC 6330(d)(1), plainly link their jurisdictional grants to a filing date.

The Supreme Court also reviewed whether the 30-day filing deadline may be equitably tolled, allowing the Tax Court to extend the deadline. The court determined that IRC 6330(d)(1) does not expressly prohibit equitable tolling. There was no evidence to refute the inference that a non-jurisdictional deadline is subject to equitable tolling in the case at hand.


More taxpayers may have their day in court as a result of Boechler. Taxpayers who missed the 30-day deadline will be able to provide information to the Tax Court to indicate that the filing deadline should be tolled by permitting taxpayers to argue for fair tolling in collection due process proceedings.

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