The opinion of the court was delivered by: PHYLLIS HAMILTON, District Judge
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS
Before the court is the motion of defendants Internal Revenue
Service and United States of America to dismiss the complaint for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a
claim. Having read the parties' papers and carefully considered
their arguments and the relevant legal authority, and good cause
appearing, the court hereby GRANTS the motion for the following
Plaintiff Sharon De Edwards is a physician in private practice.
She filed this action on November 29, 2004, against the Internal
Revenue Service ("IRS"), seeking declaratory and injunctive
relief, and also seeking damages. Plaintiff alleges that prior to
1997, she owed approximately $78,000 in federal taxes, penalties, and interest.
She claims that starting in 1997 the IRS began levying on her
bank accounts and on health plans that owed her money for
professional services, without providing her with a deficiency
notice prior to each assessment, in violation of
26 U.S.C. §§ 6212(a) and 6313(a).*fn1 She asserts that as of the time of
the filing of the complaint, the IRS had executed levies in the
amount of $196,029.80.
She alleges that the IRS has refused to stop the levies,
despite the fact that the amount collected now exceeds the amount
of her tax liability, and despite the fact that she has requested
on numerous occasions that the levies cease. She claims that the
IRS has also refused to provide her with an accounting of how the
money collected has been applied.
Defendants seek an order dismissing the complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
The term "subject-matter jurisdiction" refers to the court's
authority over the category of the claim in suit. Ruhrgas AG v.
Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 577 (1999). Subject matter
jurisdiction is fundamental and cannot be waived. Billingsly v.
C.I.R., 868 F.2d 1081, 1085 (9th Cir. 1989). It must be
established as a threshold matter, inflexibly and without
exception. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't,
523 U.S. 83, 94-95 (1998). The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction
rests on the party seeking to invoke it. Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).
Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. In
most cases, there must be both constitutional and statutory
authority for a federal court to act. Id. When suit is brought
against the United States, an additional threshold question
arises that is, whether the action is barred by sovereign
immunity. See F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994).
Without a waiver of that immunity, there can be no jurisdiction
over the claim in any court. Id. Moreover, when the United
States consents to be sued, the terms of its waiver of sovereign
immunity precisely define the extent of the court's jurisdiction. United
States v. Mottaz, 476 U.S. 834, 841 (1986).
Defendants submit that plaintiff's intent, as reflected in the
complaint, is to seek damages from the IRS and from the United
States. They argue, however, that the IRS must be dismissed from
the case because it lacks the capacity to be sued.
Defendants also assert that the claims against the United
States should be dismissed because plaintiff fails to allege any
waiver of the United States' sovereign immunity, because
plaintiff failed to file an administrative claim for a refund
pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code, because the federal courts
lack jurisdiction over any suit seeking a declaratory judgment
with respect to federal taxes, and because plaintiff's suit does
not fall within the exceptions to the Anti-Injunction Act.
Plaintiff concedes that the court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, and requests, in lieu of dismissal, that the court
transfer the action to the United ...