Fifth Circuit Says Returned IRS Notice Null, Void for Limitations Purposes

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The 90-day period for petitioning the U.S. Tax Court to challenge the IRS's disallowance of a request for innocent spouse relief did not begin running when the Service sent a notice of final determination to an incorrect address because the notice, returned as undeliverable, was “null and void,” the Fifth Circuit rules. In finding that a notice sent to an incorrect address is “null and void” when the Service has the correct address on file, the Fifth Circuit avoids weighing in on a circuit split on the limitations period issue. Six circuits have held that, when a taxpayer has time to respond to a notice that has been re-sent, the period begins running on the date the initial notice was sent. Three circuits have found the limitations period begins running when a taxpayer receives actual notice.