Normally, an Innocent Spouse Determination Letter denying relief is final unless a taxpayer files a Tax Court Petition to challenge the denial. If that Tax Court Petition deadline (90 days from the Innocent Spouse Determination Letter) is missed, then the taxpayer is forever stuck with the Innocent Spouse denial. However, that hard and fast rule changed in Vera v. Commissioner, 157 T.C. No. 5 (2021). In that case, the taxpayer filed two Innocent Spouse claims. One filed claim was filed untimely on day 91 to the Tax Court (for tax year 2013) and thus her Petition was dismissed as untimely, but then later, she timely filed her second Innocent Spouse claim as to another tax year (2010). Again, the IRS denied 2010, but this time she filed a timely Tax Court Petition. Interestingly, with the IRS’s 2010 Innocent Spouse Determination Letter of denial, the IRS again referenced (and again denied) the taxpayer’s first Innocent Spouse claim for tax year 2013. That is, the denial letter referred to both tax years: 2010 and 2013. In Tax Court, it held that in the Regulations, Section 6015(e)(1)(A)(i)(I), nothing in that provision prohibits the IRS from issuing more than one final determination letter as to any given tax year. Thus, the taxpayer — because she had denial determinations of both 2010 and 2013 in her latest denial determination — could bring both into Tax Court (even though 2013 was previously denied and dismissed under separate cover). This fact specific case gave the taxpayer a “second bite at the apple”.
The post Timeliness of Tax Court Petitions for Innocent Spouse Claims appeared first on Webb & Morton.