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How Long Can the IRS Collect Back Taxes or Audit My Tax Return?
Many people incorrectly believe that the IRS can collect back taxes until the day you die. Some believe the IRS can collect taxes even after you are dead.
Fortunately, the law isn't that bad. The statute of limitations limits the time during which an action can be brought by the IRS for a tax audit and the time for IRS tax collection activities. Generally, there is a 3-year statute of limitations for the IRS auditing a tax return and a 10-year statute of limitations for the IRS collecting tax.
You should be aware that the states may be very different. California, for example, has NO statute of limitations on the collection of back taxes.
Under section 6501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code) and section 301.6501(a)-1(a) of the Income Tax Regulations (Tax Regulations), the IRS is required to assess tax within 3 years after the tax return was filed with the IRS. Similarly, under 301.6501(a)-1(b) of the Tax Regulations no proceeding in court by the IRS without assessment for the collection of any tax can begin after the expiration of 3 years.
Under section 6501(e) of the Tax Code and section 301.6501(e)-1 of the Tax Regulations the statute of limitations is 6 years if the taxpayer omits additional gross income in excess of 25% of the amount of gross income stated in the tax return filed with the IRS.
If the tax return was prepared
by the IRS under the authority of section 6020(b) of the Tax Code the statute of
limitations does not apply. See section 6501(b)(3) of the Tax Code and section
301.6501(b)-1(c) of the Tax Regulations.
Limitations on Taxpayer to Claim a Tax Refund
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