NANCY M. RUBEL, a.k.a NANCY M. ZAWADZKI
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE NANCY M. RUBEL, Appellant
March 16, 2017
Petition for Review from an Order of the United States Tax
Court (Docket No. 16-9183) United States Tax Court Chief
Judge: Hon. L. Paige Marvel
Keith Fogg Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School
Carlton M. Smith [ARGUED] Counsel for Appellant.
Richard P. Caldarone [ARGUED] Gilbert S. Rothenberg Francesca
Ugolini United States Department of Justice Tax Division
Counsel for Appellee.
Before: GREENAWAY, JR., SHWARTZ, Circuit Judges, and
SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge. [*]
SHWARTZ, Circuit Judge.
Rubel appeals the United States Tax Court's dismissal of
her petition for lack of jurisdiction. Because Rubel failed
to file her petition by the deadline set forth in 26 U.S.C.
§ 6015(e)(1)(A), and because that deadline is
jurisdictional, the Tax Court properly dismissed her
petition, and we will affirm.
when spouses file a joint tax return, each spouse is jointly
and severally liable for the tax due. 26 U.S.C. §
6013(d); Callaway v. Comm'r, 231 F.3d 106, 111
(2d Cir. 2000). Under § 6015(c), a jointly filing spouse
may seek relief from joint and several liability for a tax
deficiency if the couple is legally separated, no longer
married, and not living together. § 6015(c). In addition,
for taxpayers who do not satisfy § 6015(c), the IRS has
discretion to grant relief where it would be
"inequitable to hold the individual liable for any . . .
deficiency." Id. § 6015(f). These avenues
for relief are referred to as the innocent spouse relief
provisions. If the IRS denies relief, then the taxpayer may
file a petition with the Tax Court. Id. §
and her ex-husband filed joint income tax returns from 2005
through 2008. They had an unpaid tax liability for each year.
In 2015, Rubel asked the IRS to relieve her from this
liability under the innocent spouse relief provisions of
January 4, 2016, the IRS sent Rubel three identical notices
of its final determination denying her requests for relief
for tax years 2006 through 2008. On January 13, 2016, the IRS
sent Rubel a similar denial for the 2005 tax year. The
determinations notified Rubel that, if she disagreed with the
IRS's decision, she could file a petition with the Tax
Court to review the denial for relief within ninety days from
the date of the determination. Accordingly, Rubel needed to
file a petition with the Tax Court by April 4,
for the 2006 through 2008 tax years and by April 12, 2016 for
the 2005 tax year.
filing a petition with the Tax Court, Rubel submitted
additional information to the IRS. In a March 3, 2016 letter,
the IRS informed Rubel that it "considered the
information and still propose[d] to deny relief in
full." App. 45. The IRS also notified Rubel of the
Please be advised this correspondence doesn't extend the
time to file a petition with the U.S. Tax Court. Your time to
petition the U.S. Tax Court began to run when we issued you
our final determination on Jan. 04, 2016 and will end on Apr.
19, 2016. However, you may continue to work with us to
resolve your tax matter.
App. 45. This letter contained incorrect information. The
deadlines for Rubel to petition the Tax Court regarding the
final determinations were April 4 ...