Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Giaimo

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

April 17, 2017

United States of America Plaintiff- Appellee
v.
Laura Giaimo Defendant-Appellant Anthony Martin Giaimo Defendant Laura Giaimo, as Trustees of the A. Martin Giaimo Family Trust Defendant-Appellant Anthony Martin Giaimo, as Trustees of the A. Martin Giaimo Family Trust; Community Connections Management; Heritage Residents Association Defendants

          Submitted: January 10, 2017

         Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis

          Before COLLOTON, MURPHY, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.

          MELLOY, Circuit Judge.

         Taxpayer Laura Giaimo appeals from the District Court's[1] grant of summary judgment in favor of the United States in this action to reduce a tax lien to judgment and foreclose upon real property. Giaimo incurred substantial tax liabilities in the 1990s when she failed to properly handle taxes associated with a day-care business she operated. The sole question before our court is whether an underlying Tax Court appeal Giaimo filed in March 2006 served to toll the limitations period applicable to the government's current collection efforts. It is undisputed that if tolling applies, the collection efforts are timely.

         In arguing the 2006 Tax Court appeal did not toll the limitations period, Giaimo presents two theories. First, as a matter of statutory interpretation, she argues her 2006 Tax Court appeal was incapable of tolling the present lien enforcement action. Second, she argues that even if her Tax Court appeal otherwise might be capable of tolling the limitations period, her 2006 Tax Court petition was untimely such that the Tax Court in that proceeding lacked jurisdiction and effected no tolling. We reject her arguments and affirm the judgment of the District Court.

         I. Background

         A personal bankruptcy delayed assessment of taxes against Giaimo for tax years 1992-94. In an adversary proceeding, the bankruptcy court determined her taxes, a debt that was not dischargeable in bankruptcy. In 1999, in accordance with the bankruptcy court's determination, the IRS assessed her taxes for years 1992-94. Then, in February 2005, the IRS sent Giaimo a notice of intent to levy. In April 2005, the IRS sent Giaimo a notice of federal tax lien filing. In response, in April 2005, Giaimo sent a request for a collection due process hearing asserting challenges to the proposed levy and lien. The IRS considered her challenge to the February levy notice untimely and her challenge to the April lien notice timely. As a result, she received a collection due process hearing as to the lien, but she received only an "equivalent hearing" as to the levy.[2] On February 13, 2006, the IRS sent Giaimo a notice of determination regarding the collection due process hearing and a decision letter regarding the equivalent hearing. The IRS rejected her challenges and indicated she could appeal the notice of determination arising from the collection due process hearing to the Tax Court. The IRS stated, however, that she had no right to appeal the decision letter from the equivalent hearing.

         On March 11, 2006, Giaimo signed and dated a form Tax Court petition, checking several boxes and including additional comments. In particular, she checked a box labeled, "Petition for Lien or Levy Action (Collection Action)." The record does not indicate when she placed the petition in the mail, but her petition was stamped and entered into the Tax Court docket on Monday, March 20, 2006, the third working day after the otherwise applicable thirty-day deadline for filing an appeal, March 15, 2006.[3] The Tax Court docket does not indicate any party challenged the court's jurisdiction or suggested the appeal was untimely. And, the Tax Court, in fact, exercised jurisdiction. Eventually, the IRS moved for summary judgment. In April 2007, the Tax Court issued its ruling granting judgment in favor of the IRS.

         Subsequently, in March 2011, the United States filed the present action to enforce its lien and foreclose upon real property. The United States moved for summary judgment, and Giaimo argued the enforcement action was untimely, asserting that the Tax Court appeal did not toll the limitations period. In the District Court, for the first time, Giaimo alleged that her 2006 Tax Court petition was untimely and that the Tax Court lacked jurisdiction. The District Court granted summary judgment, rejecting Giaimo's argument and finding the limitations period tolled during pendency of the Tax Court action and for 90 days thereafter. Giaimo appeals.

         II. Discussion

         A. Lien vs. Levy

         Section 6502 of the Tax Code authorizes collection activities for ten years following assessment. 26 U.S.C. § 6502(a) ("Where the assessment of any tax imposed by this title has been made within the period of limitation properly applicable thereto, such tax may be collected by levy or by a proceeding in court, but only if the levy is made or the proceeding begun--(1) within 10 years after the assessment of the tax.") (emphasis added). Section 6330(e)(1), expressly dealing with levies, provides that "the levy actions which are the subject of the requested hearing and the running of any period of limitations under section 6502 (relating to collection after assessment), section 6531 (relating to criminal prosecutions), or section 6532 (relating to other suits) shall be suspended for the period during which such hearing, and appeals therein, are pending." Section 6320(c), expressly dealing with liens, incorporates by reference the tolling provisions of § 6330(e).

         Because § 6330(e) expressly addresses hearings and challenges to proposed levies, the lien statute's incorporation by reference of the § 6330(e) levy-related tolling provisions arguably introduces grammatical uncertainty. Seeking to take advantage of this arguable uncertainty, Giaimo argues that the statutory scheme creates a "two-track" system that treats tolling differently depending upon what issues a taxpayer elects to appeal in Tax Court. According to Giaimo, a Tax Court appeal as to one proposed collection mechanism only suspends enforcement and tolls limitation periods as to the particular type of collection mechanism raised in the taxpayer's challenge. Pursuant to this argument, Giaimo asserts ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.