In Boechler P.C. v. CIR, No. 19-2003 (8th Cir. July 24, 2020), the Eighth Circuit holds that the 30-day period under 26 U.S.C. § 6330(d)(1) for filing an appeal from an IRS determination in the U.S. Tax Court is jurisdictional.
Under Article III, Section 1, Congress has the power to create and limit the subject-matter jurisdiction of “inferior courts.” When requirements are “jurisdictional,” they go the power of the court to hear the case and cannot be excused by equitable considerations or waiver by the opposing party. But not all requirements for filing a case are jurisdictional, Indeed in recent years, as in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, 139 S. Ct. 1843 (2019), the Supreme Court has tended to “characterize as nonjurisdictional an array of mandatory claim-processing rules and other preconditions to relief” (id. at 1849) – particularly limitations periods – and has required that Congress “clearly state” its intention to make such requirements limits upon the court’s jurisdiction (id. at 1850).
In this case, the taxpayer filed a petition for a Collection Due Process in the U.S. Tax Court one day after the thirty-day period provided by section 6330(d)(1): “The person may, within 30 days of a determination under this section petition the Tax Court for review of such determination (and the Tax Court shall have jurisdiction with respect to such matter).” The Tax Court dismissed the petition on jurisdictional grounds, and the taxpayer sought review in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The Eighth Circuit holds that section 6330(d)(1) “is a rare instance where Congress clearly expressed its intent to make the filing deadline jurisdictional …. The parenthetical ‘(and the Tax Court shall have jurisdiction with respect to such matter)’ is clearly jurisdictional and renders the remainder of the sentence jurisdictional.” The panel thus joined the Ninth Circuit in holding this period jurisdictional and nonwaivable. (One panelist, Judge Kelly, concurred in the result, expressing doubt about the correctness of the court’s analysis but concluding that the panel is bound by a prior 2016 circuit decision on the topic.)