United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on the Government's Motion
to Dismiss. Dkt. # 12. Plaintiff opposes the motion. Dkt. ##
16, 17. For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES the
failed to file his income tax return in 2000. After assuming
power of attorney in 2013, Plaintiff's wife filed a late
tax return in 2014 to account for Plaintiff's income tax
liabilities from 2000. Dkt. # 1 (Complaint) at 2-3. The
return claimed a refund for $585, 559.46. Id. The
Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) denied the
refund, stating it was outside the statute of limitations.
Id. Plaintiff then sued the IRS for this refund.
argues that Plaintiff filed his late return and refund claim
in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 6511(b)(2)(A) and therefore
this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims.
Dkt. # 12. Defendant moves the Court to dismiss
Plaintiff's claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
courts are tribunals of limited jurisdiction and may only
hear cases authorized by the Constitution or a statutory
grant. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am.,
511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The burden of establishing
subject-matter jurisdiction rests upon the party seeking to
invoke federal jurisdiction. Id. Once it is
determined that a federal court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court has no choice but to dismiss the
suit. Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514
(2006); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court determines
at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the
court must dismiss the action.”).
may bring a factual challenge to subject-matter jurisdiction,
and in such cases the court may consider materials beyond the
complaint. PW Arms, Inc. v. U.S., 186 F.Supp.3d
1137, 1142 (W.D. Wash. 2016) (citing Savage v. Glendale
Union High Sch., 343 F.3d 1036, 1039 n. 2 (9th Cir.
2003); see also McCarthy v. U.S., 850 F.2d 558, 560
(9th Cir. 1988) (“Moreover, when considering a motion
to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) the district court is
not restricted to the face of the pleadings, but may review
any evidence, such as affidavits and testimony, to resolve
factual disputes concerning the existence of
may not maintain a suit against the United States unless
sovereign immunity has been waived. Gilbert v.
DaGrossa, 756 F.2d 1455, 1458 (9th Cir. 1985). The
United States has waived sovereign immunity in lawsuits where
the plaintiff seeks to recover “any internal-revenue
tax alleged to have been erroneously or illegally assessed or
collected . . . or any sum alleged to have been excessive or
in any manner wrongfully collected under the internal-revenue
laws.” 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(1). However, the
Internal Revenue Code limits the ability of a taxpayer to
file suit to recover a tax refund. 26 U.S.C. § 7422(a).
Specifically, § 7422 requires taxpayers to “duly
file” their claims for refunds or credits prior to
seeking resolution in a federal district court. Id.
Failure to “duly file” such claims divests the
federal courts of jurisdiction over these lawsuits. Yuen
v. U.S., 825 F.2d 244, 245 (9th Cir. 1987); see also
N. Life Ins. Co. v. U.S., 685 F.2d 277, 279 (9th Cir.
1982). A claim is timely if it is filed within three years of
the time the return was filed or within two years of when the
tax was paid, whichever is later. 26 U.S.C. § 6511(a).
waited until January 2014 to file his tax return for his
income tax liabilities from 2000. Dkt. # 12-3. Plaintiff
asserts that he filed a subsequent late return in May 2014
for the same tax liabilities from 2000. Dkt. ## 16 at 2, 12-2
at 6. Defendant concedes that the late return filed in 2014
constitutes both a return and a refund claim. Dkt. # 12 at
2-3. Accordingly, Defendant appears to concede that Plaintiff
meets the requirements of § 6511(a) because Plaintiff
“duly filed” his refund claim within three years
of his tax return. Because Plaintiff meets §
6511(a)'s time limitation, this Court may exercise
jurisdiction over the lawsuit. This interpretation is
supported by case law, legislative history, and IRS guidance.
See Omohundro v. U.S., 300 F.3d 1065 (9th Cir. 2002)
(finding that the district court had jurisdiction over
plaintiff's claim even though she filed her 1993 tax
return in 1997); see also Rev. Rul. 76-511, 1976-2
C.B. 428 (1976).
offers no authority to prove that § 6511(b)(2)(A)-the
“lookback” period-has any bearing on
subject-matter jurisdiction. The remaining arguments in
Defendant's brief are more appropriately analyzed in a
motion for summary judgment. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(d) grants the Court discretion to read a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim as a motion for summary
judgment, but does not grant this discretion with regard to a
motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). Accordingly, the Court
expresses no view on the merits of the remaining arguments,
as they are not properly before the Court. Defendant,
however, is free to raise them in the appropriate motion.
Defendant suggests that Plaintiff incorporate his second
claim into his first claim. Dkt. # 12 at 12. Plaintiff
agrees. Dkt. # 16 at 2. The Court therefore grants Plaintiff
leave to amend his complaint to incorporate his second claim
into his first claim. Plaintiff must do so within ten (10)
days from the date of this Order.