Walby v. United States, No. 19-2406 (Fed. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Walby was born in Michigan, and, in 2014-2018, lived and worked in Michigan. For the 2014 taxable year, Walby’s employer, Baker, withheld $9,751.60 in federal income taxes. In 2015, Walby claimed exemption from all withholdings and executed an “Affidavit of Citizenship,” which she submitted to the State Department, declaring that she was a sovereign citizen of the state of Michigan and, “because she was not restricted by the 14th Amendment ... she was not a United States citizen thereunder but rather a nonresident alien not subject to income taxes.” In 2016, at the direction of the IRS, Baker resumed withholding. Walby did not file federal tax returns for 2014–2018 but, in 2019, filed claims for refunds of the taxes withheld from her 2014 and 2016–2018 paychecks.
The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Walby’s tax refund lawsuit concerning her 2014 return as untimely. A timely administrative refund claim must be filed within two years of the taxes being paid. The claims for the years 2016–2018 were timely but were properly dismissed as meritless. Walby could not establish a loss of U.S. nationality and even if she were a nonresident alien, Walby qualified as a U.S. resident for tax purposes under I.R.C. 7701 by virtue of her substantial presence. The court rejected a request for sanctions.