Submitted, Portland, Oregon: October 6, 2014. [*]
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. D.C. No. 1:08-cv-03027-PA. Owen M. Panner, Senior District Judge, Presiding.
Tax/Statute of Limitations
Affirming the district court's judgment in an action by the United States to reduce to judgment income tax assessments and to foreclose on certain properties, the panel held that the government's action was not barred by the ten-year statute of limitations because the running of the statute of limitations had been tolled.
Applying the Chevron analysis, the panel concluded that the tolling period provided for in 26 U.S.C. § 6330(e)(1) includes the time during which a taxpayer could file an appeal to the Tax Court, even if the taxpayer does not actually file such an appeal.
Bruce C. Moore, Moore & Associates, Eugene, Oregon, for Defendant-Appellant.
Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General, Gilbert Steven Rothenberg, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Bridget M. Rowan and Ellen Page DelSole, Attorneys, United States Department of Justice, Tax Division/Appellate Section, Washington, D.C., for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Before: Alex Kozinski, Ferdinand F. Fernandez, and Andre M. Davis,[**] Circuit Judges.
Daryl J. Kollman appeals the district court's judgment in an action by the United States to reduce to judgment income tax assessments for the 1996 calendar year and to foreclose on certain properties. The district court determined, among other things, that the government's collection suit was not barred by the ten-year statute of limitations. See 26 U.S.C. § 6502(a)(1). The court did so on the basis that the running of the statute of limitations had been tolled. See § 6330(e)(1). Kollman asserts that the district court erred. We disagree and affirm.
On November 24, 1997, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made an assessment against Kollman for the 1996 tax year. On March 18, 1999, Kollman submitted a request for a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing. See § 6330(b). On June 18, 1999, the IRS issued a notice of determination regarding Kollman's request for a CDP hearing. He then had a right to appeal the CDP determination to the United States Tax Court within thirty days. See § 6330(d)(1). However, he did not do so. On March 12, 2008, the government filed a complaint seeking to reduce the assessment to judgment and to foreclose tax liens against two parcels of property.
The case went to trial, and at the close of evidence, Kollman moved for a partial judgment as to the 1996 taxes assessed on November 24, 1997, arguing that the suit was filed beyond the ten-year limitations period because § 6330(e)(1) clearly provided that the tolling period ended when the IRS issued its CDP hearing determination.
The district court denied the motion on the basis that the language of § 6330(e)(1) was ambiguous and deferred to 26 C.F.R. § 301.6330-1(g)(1), the Treasury Regulation interpreting the statutory language. It then ruled that the government's March 12, 2008, complaint to collect the 1996 taxes assessed on November 24, 1997, was timely because the limitations period was tolled from March 18, 1999 (when Kollman requested the CDP hearing) until thirty days ...