Blackston v. United States

778 F. Supp. 244 (1991)

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Blackston v. United States

United States District Court for the District of Maryland
778 F. Supp. 244 (1991)

Facts

On January 28, 1995, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued assessments against Linwood and Barbara Blackston (plaintiffs) regarding the Blackstons’ 1979 through 1981 taxes. The IRS’s computer-generated records indicated that it sent a notice of assessment and demand for payment to the Blackstons on approximately January 28. The IRS’s records further indicated that it sent the Blackstons a second notice on May 31. This was the first notice that the Blackstons received. The Blackstons paid the 1979 assessment and sued the United States (defendant) seeking a refund. The United States filed a counterclaim seeking judgment on the 1980 and 1981 assessments. The Blackstons claimed that (1) the IRS failed to comply with Internal Revenue Code (code) § 6303(a), which required it to provide them with notice stating the amount due and demanding payment within 60 days of making an assessment, and (2) the IRS’s failure voided the assessments. The IRS responded that its computer-generated records created an irrebuttable presumption that it sent a notice and demand on January 28 and thus complied with § 6303(a). The IRS declined the court’s invitation to provide further evidence regarding the purported first notice or to explain why it sent the purported second notice on May 31 when the IRS’s computer was programmed to send a second notice just five weeks after a first notice. The United States further contended that any IRS noncompliance with § 6303(a) did not void the assessments but only barred the IRS from utilizing its lien and levy collection powers.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Garbis, J.)

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