July 27, 2011

IRS Statute of Limitations for Prior Year Return Errors

Question:

How many years can IRS chase after a minister who didn't report SE tax for the housing allowance?

Answer:

I'll let the IRS' own FAQ answer this one:

"Generally, the IRS can include returns filed within the last three years in an audit. Additional years can be added if a substantial error is identified. Generally, if a substantial error is identified, the IRS will not go back more than the last six years.
...
"More information related to extending a statute of limitations can be obtained in Publication 1035, Extending the Tax Assessment Period."

From Publication 1035:

"The statute of limitations for IRS to assess and collect any outstanding balances does not start until a return has been filed.In other words, there is no statute of limitations for assessing and collecting the tax if no return has been filed."

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