The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Internal Revenue Service can still apply a two-year deadline to taxpayers looking to file for “innocent spouse” relief.
The court reversed a previous Tax Court ruling, which held that because the statute did not specify a particular deadline for filing, the IRS could not impose one.
In the court’s opinion, Judge Richard A. Posner wrote, “The Tax Court’s basic thought seems to have been that since some statutes (in this case, some provisions of a statute) prescribe deadlines, whenever a statute (or provision) fails to prescribe a deadline, there is none. That is not how statutes that omit a statute of limitations are usually interpreted. Courts ‘borrow’ a statute of limitations from some other statute in order to avoid the absurdity of allowing suits to be filed centuries after the claim on which the suit was based arose.”