Worldwide Equipment of Tennessee, Inc. v. United States, No. 17-5031 (6th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Worldwide Equipment, a Mack Truck dealer, remitted a 12% federal excise tax collected from purchasers of its heavy-duty trucks, and sought a refund, claiming that the trucks, designed for use in the Appalachian coalfields, qualified as exempted, “off-highway” vehicles under 26 U.S.C. 7701(a)(48). The statute, 26 U.S.C. 6416(a), requires a refund claimant to show that it has made arrangement to avoid double payments and unjust enrichment by submitting written customer consent forms. Worldwide did not supply such consents to the IRS. In its denial, the IRS did not refer to the failure to supply consents. The district court, relying on long-standing Supreme Court and Sixth Circuit precedents applying predecessor statutory provisions, dismissed Worldwide’s refund claims on nonwaivable sovereign immunity grounds because the consent forms were statutorily required as part of a “duly filed” claim under 26 U.S.C. 7422(a). The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Worldwide’s failure to file its customer consent forms at the administrative stage violated section 6416(a); therefore, the claims had not been “duly filed with the Secretary, according to the provisions of law in that regard,” violating section 7422(a), so that federal courts are without jurisdiction to consider Worldwide’s refund claims.