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Adams v. Internal Revenue Service

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 4, 2013

ADAMS, ET AL
v.
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, ET AL

James Adams, Pro Se, Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs.

Andrew Pribe, AUSA, Attorneys Present for Defendants.

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

Proceedings: DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. #9, filed September 23, 2013)

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs Monique and James Adams, proceeding pro se, filed this action on June 28, 2013, against defendants United States of America and the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"). Dkt. #4. Plaintiffs assert a claim for relief under the Internal Revenue Code for a refund of income taxes paid in 1993 and 1994. Compl. 13-14, 18.

The government filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) on September 23, 2013. Plaintiffs filed an opposition on October 11, 2013. Dkt. #11. The government filed a reply on October 21, 2013. Dkt. #12. The Court held a hearing on November 4, 2013. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

II. BACKGROUND

The crux of plaintiffs' allegations is that the Internal Revenue Service erroneously calculated plaintiffs' tax liability for tax years 1993 and 1994. Compl. 5-6. According to plaintiffs, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") improperly denied plaintiffs the exemptions and deductions to which they were entitled for those years. Id . It appears that plaintiffs now seek a refund of taxes paid or assessed for those years. Id . at 18. The Court sets forth plaintiffs' factual allegations in more detail below.

During 1998 and 1999, plaintiffs allege that they made a series of payments to the IRS. Id . at 8. Plaintiffs allege that they filed for bankruptcy on October 4, 1999. Id . Plaintiffs do not allege the outcome of the bankruptcy proceeding. See id. However, they allege that their bankruptcy proceeding was "no longer pending" as of February 21, 2002. Id . Plaintiffs allege that James Adams sought emergency mental health treatment in June 2001, and continued to seek mental health treatment through the middle of 2002. Id . at 7. Plaintiffs then allege that they submitted an "offer in compromise" to the IRS on August 9, 2002, but do not allege the substance of the offer. Id . Plaintiffs further allege that they filed an amended tax return for the years 1993 and 1994 on June 3, 2004. Id . at 9. Plaintiffs allege that this return was "denied." Id.

In the following years, plaintiffs allege correspondence with the IRS regarding their tax liability from 1993 and 1994, and also allege that they made a series of payments to the IRS. Id . at 10-11. According to plaintiffs, the IRS issued a series of small refunds and abatements of plaintiffs' tax liability during the years 2008 through 2011, including a refund of $4, 683.15 for the 1994 tax year. Id . at 11. Plaintiffs allege that they then filed an amended tax return for tax year 1993 on March 17, 2011, and that this return was also "denied." Id.

Plaintiffs allege that they met with an IRS tax examiner on October 20, 2011, who stated that plaintiffs were entitled to an additional tax refund. Id . at 12. It appears that plaintiffs allege that they submitted a claim to the IRS on March 25, 2012, which was denied. Id . Plaintiffs allege that they appealed the denial of their claim, and that the appeal was denied in October of 2012. Id.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss an action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) raises the question of the federal court's subject matter jurisdiction over the action. The objection presented by this motion is that the court has no authority to hear and decide the case. This defect may exist despite the formal sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint. See T.B. Harms Co. v. Eliscu , 226 F.Supp. 337, 338 (S.D. N.Y. 1964), aff'd 339 F.2d 823 (2d Cir. 1964) (the formal allegations must yield to the substance of the claim when a motion is filed to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction). When considering a Rule 12(b)(1) motion challenging the substance of jurisdictional allegations, the Court is not restricted to the face of the pleadings, but may ...


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