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Patel v. Internal Revenue Service

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 29, 2019

RIKIN PATEL, Plaintiff,
v.
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, Defendants.

          OPINION

          KEVIN MCNULTY. U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Rikin Patel, pro se, brings this Complaint ("Cplt.", DE 1) against the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS").[1] He seeks a refund in the amount of $4, 171 for federal income tax withholding allegedly overpaid for the 2011 tax year. The IRS has moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), arguing that the plaintiffs refund claim and this action were filed outside of applicable jurisdictional time limits.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Taxes were withheld from Mr. Patel's pay in the year 2011. In his tax return for the year 2011, he claimed that he overpaid his 2011 taxes in the amount of $4171.00, and sought a refund.

         Mr. Patel concededly did not file his 2011 tax return on the usual due date of April 15, 2012; he filed it on October 8, 2015. The IRS states that the return, when considered as a refund claim, was filed too late. Mr. Patel claims that he filed for an extension of time, but the IRS has no record of it.

         On December 17, 2015, the IRS issued a Notice of Claim Disallowance. The Notice informed Mr. Patel that he could file an administrative appeal within the IRS or file suit in federal court within two years after the date of the Notice. The complaint in this action was filed by the clerk on December 20, 2017, three days past the two-year deadline stated in the Notice.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 12(b)(1), Fed. R. Civ. P., provides for the dismissal of a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction rests with the party asserting its existence, [citing DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 342 n. 3, 126 S.Ct. 1854, 164 L.Ed.2d 589 (2006).] "Challenges to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) may be facial or factual." [citing Common Cause of Pa, v. Pennsylvania, 558 F.3d 249, 257 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Taliaferro v. Darby Twp. Zoning Bd., 458 F.3d 181, 188 (3d Cir. 2006)).] A facial attack "concerns 'an alleged pleading deficiency' whereas a factual attack concerns 'the actual failure of [a plaintiffs] claims to comport [factually] with the jurisdictional prerequisites.'" [citing CNA v. United States, 535 F.3d 132, 139 (3d Cir. 2008) (alterations in original) (quoting United States ex rel. Atkinson v. Pa. Shipbuilding Co., 473 F.3d 506, 514 (3d Cir.2007)).]
"In reviewing a facial attack, the court must only consider the allegations of the complaint and documents referenced therein and attached thereto, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." [citing Gould Elecs. Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 176 (3d Cir. 2000).] By contrast, in reviewing a factual attack, "the court must permit the plaintiff to respond with rebuttal evidence in support of jurisdiction, and the court then decides the jurisdictional issue by weighing the evidence. If there is a dispute of a material fact, the court must conduct a plenary hearing on the contested issues prior to determining jurisdiction." [citing McCann v. Newman Irrevocable Trust, 458 F.3d 281, 290 (3d Cir. 2006) (citations omitted).]

Lincoln Ben. Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC, 800 F.3d 99, 105 (3d Cir. 2015) (footnotes omitted; case citations in footnotes inserted in text).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A tax refund suit, like this one, is properly brought against the United States under 28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(1). The court has may entertain such an action, however, only to the extent and under the conditions that the United States has waived its sovereign immunity. Such a waiver must be clear, and it is a prerequisite to this Court's subject-matter jurisdiction. See Lane v. Pena, 518 U.S. 187, 192 (1996); United States v. Nordic Village, Inc., 503 U.S. 30, 33 (1992); FDCI v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994). Here, the United States has placed conditions on its waiver of sovereign immunity in the form of time limits. Unless those conditions are satisfied, this action cannot proceed.

         A. ...


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