In a brand new case, Pragrias TC Memo 2021-82, 6/30/21, the Tax Court allowed the IRS to go previous the standard three years for an audit as a consequence of a considerable understatement of taxable earnings.
Particulars: The fundamental statute of limitations for IRS examinations is three years from the due date of your federal tax return. For instance, in case your return was due on April 15, 2021, however you filed it on March 1, 2021, the IRS has till April 15, 2024 to look at your return.
Nonetheless, the statute of limitations is doubled to 6 years in case your return features a “substantial understatement of earnings.” Usually, this implies you’ve omitted greater than 25 p.c of your taxable earnings. Suppose you earned $200,000 however reported solely $125,000 in earnings. Since you omitted greater than 25 p.c of the earnings, you will be audited for as much as six years.
Lastly, in case you by no means filed a return for a specific tax 12 months or the return was fraudulent (or fraud is suspected), there isn’t any time restrict. The IRS can again so long as it likes.
The taxpayer within the new case tried to keep away from tax legal responsibility on a technicality. He claimed that his understatement of tax was not an omission, so the statute of limitations ought to solely be three years.
Key information: The taxpayer was concerned in a fancy collection of investments. In 2006, he obtained a capital achieve from these investments of greater than $4.9 million, however solely reported about $1.5 million of the achieve his tax return for that 12 months.
Finally, the IRS assessed a tax deficiency after three years had elapsed, however earlier than the six-year statute of limitations expired. It reasoned that it might return greater than three years as a result of the understatement resulted in an omission of greater than 25 p.c of the taxable quantity that ought to have been reported.
Nonetheless, the taxpayer objected. He claimed that the 25 percent-of-income rule wasn’t violated as a result of he technically didn’t omit his share of the capital achieve. As an alternative, he argued that he merely understated it. In accordance with this interpretation of the principles, the IRS is barred from analyzing his return after three years from the submitting due date for 2006 returns.
Tax final result: The Tax Court docket disagreed with the taxpayer. It decided that the six-year statute of limitations interval applies. In accordance with the information on the IRS’ disposal, the taxpayer understated his share of the capital achieve by greater than 25 p.c of the gross earnings acknowledged on the return. In different phrases, he “omitted” the quantity in query.
Purchasers will usually ask how lengthy they need to maintain on to data. As this case reveals, the naked minimal is three years, however six years could also be advisable to be on the protected facet and even longer for the faint-of-heart.