Haag v. United States, No. 12-2176 (1st Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
The United States filed suit against Kathleen Haag and her husband seeking to reduce to judgment federal income tax liabilities for several years. The district court granted summary judgment to the United States, concluding that Haag's claim that she was entitled to "innocent spouse" relief was barred by the two-year limitations period. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Haag eventually filed a fourth suit asserting that Lantz v. Commissioner had invalidated the two-year limitations period on requests for innocent spouse relief. The tax court and First Circuit held that res judicata applied. At this point, Lantz had been reversed, but the IRS had issued Notice 2011-70, which stated that taxpayers whose innocent spouse relief claims had been litigated previously and barred by the statute of limitations would not be subject to collection under certain circumstances. The First Circuit concluded that Notice 2011-70 did not apply to Haag. Haag then filed this complaint, arguing that Notice 2011-70 afforded her equitable relief from the judgment and that the First Circuit's prior finding to the contrary was mere dicta. The district court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim. The First Circuit affirmed, concluding, once again, that Notice 2011-70 was inapplicable to Haag.