Dixon v. United States, No. 22-1564 (Fed. Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
In 2017, Dixon’s tax preparer filed amended tax returns for him, within the time permitted by law, claiming a refund for tax years 2013 and 2014. After an audit, the IRS denied those claims and assessed additional taxes. Dixon filed suit. During the litigation, it became clear that Dixon had not personally signed his name on the 2017 amended returns—the tax preparer had signed Dixon’s name—and no authorizing power-of-attorney documentation accompanied the amended returns. Because 26 U.S.C. 7422(a) prevents a taxpayer from filing suit to claim a refund without having earlier submitted a “duly filed” refund claim to the IRS, and the 2017 amended returns were not “duly filed,” the Claims Court dismissed the case. Within days, Dixon filed duly signed amended returns for the 2013 and 2014 tax years, though the time allowed for amended returns claiming a refund for those years had passed. He filed another suit based on the IRS’s failure to act on his 2020 amended returns.
The Claims Court again dismissed. Dixon’s first action was properly dismissed because the claims, though timely filed, were not “duly filed.” By the time MDixon filed corrected claims with the IRS, the time limits for filing with the IRS had passed unless the corrected claims related back to the earlier claims under the informal-claim doctrine, which does not apply because the IRS loses authority to act on an amendment of an unperfected claim once a suit is filed.