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Part Three: Are Tax Returns Given to an IRS Agent Considered Filed?

By Joel N. Crouch on March 14, 2023
Last June, I wrote a blog post on a 9th circuit panel opinion in Seaview Trading LLC v. Commissioner, where the panel, in a 2-1 decision, reversed the Tax Court on the meaning of a “filed” return. The panel held that a tax return sent to an IRS agent was considered filed and started the three-year time period of limitations for the IRS to issue a notice of deficiency. This was important because the IRS did not issue a Notice of Deficiency until more than three years after the tax return was provided to the IRS examiner, and therefore was beyond the statute of limitations.

The last paragraph of my post read, “Seaview was decided by a three-judge panel, one of whom disagreed and wrote a long dissent.  It is likely we have not seen the last of this case or this issue.”

I was correct.  On March 10th, the full 9th Circuit rejected the panel opinion and held that sending the tax return to the IRS agent was not a filing for purposes of starting the period of limitations. The 9th Circuit opinion is HERE. Our friend Jack Townsend, has a very good discussion (HERE) of the 9th Circuit en banc decision, which I recommend.

If you have any tax-related questions please feel free to contact me at jcrouch@meadowscollier.com.