Jones v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 10-1985 (4th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Petitioner requested innocent spouse relief from her tax liability under I.R.C. 6015(f) more than two years after the IRS began its efforts to collect the deficiency from an audit of the petitioner and her husband's joint income tax return for the year 2000. At issue was whether Treasury Regulation 1.6015-5(b)(1), 26 C.F.R. 1.6015-5(b)(1), establishing a two-year limitations period within which to request equitable innocent spouse relief from joint and several income tax liability under I.R.C. 6015(f), was a valid regulation. The court held that a two-year time period for requesting relief under section 6015(f) was a reasonable approach to filling the gap left in section 6015. Therefore, because section 6015(f) was ambiguous as to an appropriate limitations period and Regulation 1.6015-5(b)(1) was not arbitrary, capricious, or manifestly contrary to the statute, the court held that it was a valid regulation. Per petitioner's request, the court remanded the case to the Tax Court for determining whether petitioner was entitled to an extension under Treasury Regulation 301.9100-3. The court finally rejected petitioner's request for innocent spouse relief under the doctrine of equitable tolling where she waived the issue. Accordingly, the judgment of the Tax Court was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.