Stocker v. United States, No. 11-1890 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Having secured extensions, the Stockers filed their 2003 tax return in October 2004. In March 2007, the IRS settled an audit of an entity in which the Stockers had lost money. Flintoff, their tax preparer, determined that the Stockers had overpaid 2003 taxes by $64,058 and prepared an amended return, required to be filed within three years of October 15, 2004, 26 U.S.C. 6511(a). Stocker claims that he mailed it at the post office on October 15, but was unable to get date-stamped receipts, because of Flintoff’s failure to give him customer copies of certified mail receipts. Although simultaneous mailings were timely received, the IRS claims that it received the return on October 25; its records reflect that the envelope was postmarked October 19, but it did not retain the envelope. The return-receipt card, to be completed by the certified mail recipient, was left blank and returned to Flintoff, who unsuccessfully requested reconsideration of the refund claim. The district court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that the Stockers could not establish the jurisdictional prerequisite of a timely-filed return under any method recognized in the Internal Revenue Code or precedent for determining the date of delivery of a federal tax return.