Tax Assessment Statutes

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Tax Statutes

The old myth is you can’t outrun death and taxes. While you certainly can’t outrun death, the statute of limitations on tax collection provides a maximum length where the IRS can insist on tax collection.

How Tax Assessments Work for Back Taxes

In order to collect taxes from an individual, the IRS must “assess” taxes against that person. The tax assessment is a particular form signed by an IRS employee stating that an individual owes taxes to the IRS.  Such an assessment usually occurs for past due taxes, or when a return is filed by the individual.

Statute of Limitations Calculation and Exceptions

In accordance with the Internal Revenue Code Section 6501, the IRS has a three year window to assess/collect taxes. The three year period starts from either 1) the due date of the return or 2) the date the return was filed. There is a consent exception to the three year period for assessment if the agreement is in writing and signed by both the tax payer and the IRS. However, estate tax assessment cannot be extended by law.

There are various rules regarding suspension of the Three Year Rule, most notably if the individual (or business) files a Bankruptcy Petition or goes into receivership. A six year exception will apply to the statute of limitations on tax collection if 25% or more income is underreported on income, estate, or gift taxes. Even if you file a corrected return, the six year window is still applicable by Internal Revenue Rulings.

Finally, there is a Fraud exception to the three year statute of limitations on tax collection. If an individual files a false or fraudulent tax return, the statute of limitations on tax collection does not run. However, the IRS has the burden of proof to show that the individual has committed a fraud in filing the tax return.

Tax Assessments and Collections Statutes by State

Choose the first letter of your State

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
State Debt and Refund Collection
Alabama The statute of limitations for additional tax debt is 3 years from the later of the due date or the file date of the tax return. If required tax was understated by more than 25%, the statute of limitations is 6 years. A taxpayer may appeal from a denial in whole or in part of a petition for refund by filing a notice of appeal with the Administrative Law Division within two years from the date the petition is denied. If a taxpayer disagrees with a preliminary assessment entered by the Department of Revenue, the taxpayer may file a written petition for review with the Department within 30 days from the date of entry of the preliminary assessment. A taxpayer may appeal from a final assessment entered by the Department by filing a notice of appeal with the Administrative Law Division within 30 days from the date of entry of the final assessment. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the final assessment of the tax, or prior to the exiration of an agreement made in writing.
Alaska AK does not have a Personal Income tax. AK does not have a personal income tax.
Arizona The statutory period for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 4 years after filing a tax return, provided a notice of assessment was sent to the taxpayer within the 4 year period. An appeal to the Department can be made by a petition within 90 days after receipt of a notice of proposed assessment or denial of a refund claim. A taxpayer may request an informal hearing (a meeting with an auditor and supervisor) or a formal hearing (before a Department Hearing Officer) or both. The statute of limitations for tax collection is within 6 years after the amount of tax determined to be due becomes final.
Arkansas The statutory period for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 3 years from the later of the due date or the file date of the tax return. If income was understated by 25% or more, the statute of limitations is 6 years. Within 30 days after notice of a proposed assessment or a denial of a refund claim a taxpayer may file a written protest with the Director. The Director may extend the time for filing the protest for any period up to an additional 90 days. The statute of limitations for tax collection is within 6 years after the amount of tax determined to be due becomes final.
California The statute of limitations for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is is 4 years from the file date. Taxpayers who disagree with the action of the Franchise Tax Board [FTB] at the conclusion of an audit may protest the FTB's action, rather than pay the assessment. The protest, which must be in writing and specify the grounds on which it is based, has to be filed within 60 days after the mailing of the FTB's Notice of Proposed Assessment [NPA]. A protest also is considered timely if it is filed by the FTBcomputed deadline date shown in the NPA. Taxpayers who disagree with the Franchise Tax Board's action on their protest concerning their liability for personal income tax, their eligibility for refund, or for interest on refund, may appeal to the State Board of Equalization within 30 days from the date of the FTB's Notice of Action on Taxpayer's Protest or 90 days from the date of the FTB's Notice of Action on Cancellation, Credit, or Refund. An appeal filed by the FTBdetermined deadline, as stated on the NPA, is also timely. In California, the statute of limitations for unpaid tax debt is 20 years.
Colorado The statute of limitations for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is is 4 years from the due date of the return. Within 30 days of the mailing of a notice of deficiency, a taxpayer may request a hearing on the proposed tax by applying to the executive director. Taxpayers may elect to waive an administrative hearing and appeal the deficiency notice directly to the District Court if the taxpayer and Executive Director agree that a question of law under the U.S. or Colorado constitution is required to settle the issues. In such case, the Executive Director must send the taxpayer a notice of the agreement. The taxpayer may directly appeal to the District Court within 30 days after mailing of the notice. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Connecticut The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the return was received or the due date of the return. Taxpayers aggrieved by deficiency assessments must file written protests with the Department of Revenue Services' Appellate Division within 60 days of mailing. In the case of a jeopardy assessment, the protest deadline is 10 days of mailing. Taxpayers aggrieved by refund denials must file protests with 60 days of mailing in order to receive administrative review. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Delaware The statue of limitations for new assessments is 3 years after the date the return was filed. A taxpayer may file with the Director a written protest against a proposed assessment or disallowance of a claim for refund in which the grounds on which the protest is based are stated. Protests must be filed within 60 days (120 days if taxpayer is outside the United States) of the date of the mailing of a notice of proposed assessment of personal income tax or of a disallowance of a claim for credit or refund of personal income tax. Protests must be filed within 30 days of the date of the mailing of a notice of proposed assessment of income tax required to be withheld or of a disallowance of a claim for credit or refund with respect to income tax withheld. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
DC (Washington) The statue of limitations is 3 years after the date the return was filed. Within 30 days after the proposed assessment is sent, the taxpayer may file a protest with the Office of Administrative Hearings, and must serve a copy on the Office of Tax and Revenue. The protest must explain why the deficiency, interest, and penalties should not be assessed. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Florida FL does not have a personal income tax. FL does not have a personal income tax.
Georgia The statue of limitations is 3 years after the date the return was filed. A taxpayer may contest a proposed assessment made by the Commissioner by filing a written protest with the Commissioner at any time within 30 days from the date of notice of the assessment, or within another time limit specified by the notice of proposed assessment. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Hawaii The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. An appeal may be made to the Board of Review (Board) for the district where the taxpayer's principal place of business is located, where the taxpayer resides or has its principal office, or to the Board for the first district. The notice must be filed with the Board within 30 days of the mailing date of the notice of tax assessment. For refund claims, for taxes administered by the Department of Taxation, taxpayers may file an appeal with a district Board or the Hawaii Tax Appeal Court at any time after 180 days from the date that a claim was filed, if the Department has not given notice of a denial of the claim. Taxpayers may appeal the Department's denial of a refund claim to the Board or the Tax Appeal Court within 30 days after notice of the denial of the claim. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Idaho The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. After a notice of assessment, a taxpayer has 63 days to file a protest. No deficiency assessment becomes final until after the end of 63 days, or until the final decision of the state tax commission on the protest. If the protest is defective, the State Tax Commission must notify the taxpayer of the inadequacies and set out corrective measures. The taxpayer has 28 days from the notice to perfect the protest. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Illinois The statue of limitations is 3 years after the date the return was filed. Taxpayers must file a request for an informal conference with the Informal Conference Board [ICB] within 60 days after a notice of proposed liability or claim denial has been issued. The 60day period for filing a request starts with the mailing date of the notice, which is the date that appears on the face of the notice or the postmark date, if later than the date shown on the notice. Also, within 30 days after the mailing of a notice of decision, the taxpayer may file with the Department a written request for a rehearing stating the grounds for the request. The Department then either grants a rehearing or Departmental review unless, within 10 days of receipt of that request, the Department denies review. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Indiana The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. A taxpayer has 60 days from the date that a notice of additional tax assessment is mailed to protest the additional tax liability. If the taxpayer desires a hearing before the Department, the protest must so state. The taxpayer may, in lieu of a hearing, submit written objections to the assessment. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Iowa The statute of limitations for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 3 years from the date the tax return was filed. Taxpayers wishing to contest an assessment, denial of refund claim, or any other action by the Department of Revenue, which may result in a contested case proceeding, must file a written protest with the Department within 60 days of the date of the notice of assessment, denial of refund, or other action. Taxpayers who fail to timely protest an assessment can contest the assessment by paying the whole assessed tax, interest, and penalties and filing a timely refund claim. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Kansas The statute of limitations for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 3 years from the date the tax return was filed. Within 60 days after mailing a deficiency notice, or a refund rejection notice, a taxpayer can request an informal conference with the Secretary of Revenue relating to the tax liability or denial of refund by filing a written request with the Secretary. The written request must state the objections to the proposed liability or proposed denial of refund. The purpose of the informal conference is to review and reconsider all facts and issues that underlie the proposed liability or proposed denial of refund. The Secretary must hold an informal conference with the taxpayer and must issue a written final determination on the proposed liability or proposed denial of refund. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Kentucky The statute of limitations for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 4 years from the later of the due date or the file date of the tax return. Taxpayers who receive an assessment for additional Kentucky individual income tax, or whose claim for refund or credit is denied or disallowed, may protest the assessment or refund or credit denial or reduction by submitting a written protest to the Department of Revenue within 45 days from the date of the notice of tax assessed or the notice of disallowance. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Louisiana The statute of limitations for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 3 years from Dec. 31 of the year taxes were due. If the Secretary fails to act on a claim for refund or credit within one year, or if the claim is denied, the taxpayer can appeal for a hearing. No appeal can be made within one year of the filing of the claim unless the collector renders a decision within that time, nor after 60 days from the date of the mailing by the Secretary of the notice of disallowance of the claim, regardless of any further action on the claim by the Secretary after mailing of the notice. Within 60 days after the receipt of a final assessment from the Secretary, the taxpayer can appeal for redetermination of the deficiency. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Maine The statutory period for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 3 years from the later of the due date or the file date of the tax return. A taxpayer that is aggrieved by the assessor's determination may, within 30 days after receipt of the notice of the assessment or determination, make a written request for reconsideration by the assessor. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Maryland The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. A person or governmental unit against which an assessment is made can submit to the Comptroller an application for revision of the assessment or if the assessment is paid, a claim for refund. Appeals must be filed within 30 days after the date on which a notice of assessment is mailed. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Massachusetts The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. AThe taxpayer may appeal the decision of the Commissioner to the Appellate Tax Board [ATB] within 60 days of the date of the notice of decision. Taxpayers protesting the refusal of the Commissioner to refund or abate a tax can also appeal to the ATB within 60 days after the date of the notice of the commissioner's decision. The statute of limitations for collection of taxes in Massachusetts is 6 years from the later of the date the taxes were assessed or the date they were due. Assessments involving fraud have no statute of limitations.
Michigan The statue of limitations is 4 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Taxpayers not satisfied with an assessment, decision, or order of the Department with respect to the determination of a tax may appeal the contested portion of the assessment, decision, or order to the Michigan Tax Tribunal within 35 days from the date of that assessment, decision, or order. The uncontested portion of an assessment, decision or order must be paid as a prerequisite to appeal. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Minnesota The statue of limitations is 3.5 years after the date the return was filed. Taxpayers may file an appeal with the Commissioner of Revenue. The appeal may relate to an order assessing tax, a denial of a request for abatement of penalty, or a denial of a claim for refund. The appeal must be filed within 60 days of the notice date, with a 30day extension available on request. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Mississippi The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Any taxpayer aggrieved by the Commission's assessment of tax or denial of a refund claim, may file a written appeal to the Board of Review within 30 days of the action. Unless the Board grants the appeal without a hearing, an informal hearing is to be held. Following the Board's determination, the taxpayer has 30 days to pay the amount ordered or to appeal the Board's decision to the Commission. Upon receipt of a written appeal, the Commission is to hold an informal hearing on the appeal. Once the Commission makes its decision, the taxpayer has 30 days to pay the amount ordered to be paid, or to appeal the order to the chancery court. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Missouri The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Within 60 days (150 days if the taxpayer is outside the United States) after the Director of Revenue mails to a taxpayer a notice of tax deficiency, the taxpayer may file with the Director a protest against the proposed assessment. After making a timely protest, the taxpayer may, at any time before an assessment becomes final, deposit with the Director part or all of the tax, interest, or penalties proposed in the deficiency notice, but may, before the assessment becomes final or before an action has been filed in the circuit court, request a return of the deposit. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Montana The statue of limitations is 3 years after the date the return was filed. A taxpayer must notify the Department of the its objection to a determination within 30 days from the date that the notice is mailed. If the taxpayer does not notify the Department within 30 days an assessment becomes final and the assessed tax, plus any interest and penalty, must be paid; and the taxpayer waives any further right to review or to appeal to the Montana State Tax Appeal Board. A taxpayer who notifies the Department of an objection must present the objections, and any other information to the administrator of the division that administers the tax within 60 days after the taxpayer's original notice to the Department is mailed. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Nebraska The statue of limitations is 3 years from the due date of the return. Taxpayers must file a written protest with the Nebraska Department of Revenue challenging the proposed assessment of tax deficiency within 90 days after notice of the proposed assessment was mailed by the Department. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Nevada No personal income tax No personal income tax
New Hampshire The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Taxpayers may petition the Department of Revenue Services for redetermination of an assessment within 60 days after notice of assessment or demand for payment. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
New Jersey Taxpayer may claim a refund for overpaid taxes within 4 years from the original payment. A taxpayer may file a petition with the Director for a redetermination of a claimed deficiency within 90 days after the mailing of the notice of deficiency (150 days after mailing if the notice was addressed to a person outside of the United States). The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
New Mexico The statue of limitations is 3 years from the end of the calendar year in which the tax was due. A taxpayer may dispute the assessment of tax or the denial of a refund by filing a written protest with the Department within 30 days of the mailing of the assessment. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
New York Claims for refunds must be filed within 3 years of the original file date of the tax return. Conciliation conferences must be requested within 90 days of receiving notice. A conciliation order will be rendered within 30 days after the proceeding is concluded. The order is binding upon the department and the person who requested the conference unless that person requests a hearing before an administrative law judge within 90 days after the conciliation order is issued. There is a 10 year statute of limitations for collecting taxes starting from the assessment date (not the filing date of the retun). Statute does not apply for cases of fraud.
North Carolina The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Without having to pay the tax or additional tax assessed by the Secretary, any taxpayer may obtain from the Tax Review Board an administrative review with respect to the taxpayer's liability for the tax or additional tax assessed by the Secretary. Within 30 days after the Secretary's final decision is issued, taxpayers must file with the Tax Review Board, with a copy to the Secretary, notice of intent to file a petition for review. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
North Dakota The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Taxpayers have the right to protest any notice of determination or notice of refund change by the Commissioner. The taxpayer has 30 days (90 days if outside the U.S.) to file a notice of protest. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Ohio The statutory period for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 4 years from the later of the due date or the file date of the tax return. Persons sent an assessment notice must file a written petition for reassessment to the Commissioner within 60 days after service of the assessment notice, or the assessment becomes final and the assessed amount due and payable. The petition must be accompanied by payment. There is a 7 year statute of limitations for collecting taxes starting from the assessment date
Oklahoma The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Within 60 days after the mailing of a proposed assessment, the taxpayer may file with the Tax Commission a written protest under oath, signed by himself or his duly authorized agent. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Oregon The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Within 30 days from the date of the notice of deficiency, or denial of refund, the taxpayer must pay the deficiency with interest computed to the date of payment and penalty, or the taxpayer must advise the Department in writing of objections, and may request a conference with the Department. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Pennsylvania The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. Within 90 days after the notice of assessment mailing date, the person may file a petition for reassessment of the tax. The department must dispose of the petition within six months of receipt, and must promptly notify the petitioner of the action taken. Failure to notify the taxpayer of a decision within the 6month period is a denial of the taxpayer's claims, which the taxpayer may seek review of by the Board of Finance and Revenue within 120 days of written notice from the department that it has failed to dispose of the matter within the required 6 months. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Rhode Island The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. A taxpayer who receives a deficiency assessment may file an administrative petition for redetermination of the deficiency within 30 days after the mailing of the deficiency notice, or 150 days when the notice is addressed to a person outside the United States. The petition can assert a refund claim for the same tax years. A refund petition cannot be filed more than two years after the mailing date of the notice of disallowance, unless the twoyear period is extended by written agreement. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
South Carolina The statue of limitations is 3 years after the later of the date the tax was due or the date the return was filed. A taxpayer may apply to the Department of Revenue for review of the assessed tax not resolved at the audit level. Taxpayers may request review of disputed taxes by filing a written protest with the Department within 90 days of the date of the division decision or the proposed assessment. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
South Dakota South Dakota does not have a personal income tax. South Dakota does not have a personal income tax.
Tennessee The statue of limitations is 3 years from the end of the calendar year in which the tax return was filed. When a taxpayer has been given notice of the assessment of a deficiency, she has the right to an informal conference with the Commissioner to discuss the assessment and to present such matters as may be relevant to the assessment. The request, if made through the US mail, must be made within 30 days of the date of the notice, and must be scheduled within 20 days of the date of the request. The Commissioner must give the taxpayer written notice of the decision within 10 days. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Texas Texas does not have a personal income tax. Texas does not have a personal income tax.
Utah The statue of limitations is 3 years fthe date the return was filed. The petition for redetermination must be received by the Commission no later than 30 days from the date of a notice that creates the right to appeal. The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Vermont The statue of limitations is 3 years fthe due date of the return or from the date the return was filed, if it was not timely filed. Taxpayers may appeal a notice of deficiency or assessment or a denial of a claim for refund by petitioning the Commissioner in writing for a determination of the deficiency or assessment or denial of claim for refund within 60 days after the date of the mailing of the notice of deficiency or assessment The statute of limitations requires that collection be made within 10 years after the date of assessment .
Virginia A refund may be requested within 3 years from the last day prescribed by law for the timely filing of the return. Anyone assessed with a tax believed to be erroneous can protest the assessment by applying to the Department of Taxation for correction before paying the assessment. The application for correction of assessment must be a complete appeal and filed within 90 days after the assessment. The statute of limitations for tax collection is 20 years from the date the tax was assessed.
Washington WA does not have a personal income tax. WA does not have a personal income tax.
West Virginia The statute of limitations to add to the tax laibility of an individual is 5 years form the date the return was filed. Petitions must be postmarked or delivered to the Office of Tax Appeals within 60 days of the date the person received written notice of an assessment, order or other decision of the Tax Commissioner. The statute of limitations for tax collection is within 10 years after the date on which the taxpayer filed the annual tax return.
Wisconsin The statutory period for adding to a taxpayers tax liability is 4 years from the file date or 4 years after the due date of the tax return. Any taxpayer aggrieved by a notice of an additional assessment, refund or notice of denial of refund may, within 60 days after receipt of notice from the Department of Revenue, petition the Department in writing for a redetermination. The Department must make a redetermination on the petition within six months after it is filed. Wisconsin has no statute of limitations for collection of taxes (unlike the IRS). Once a tax liability is assessed, it remains until it is paid.
Wyoming WY does not have a personal income tax. WY does not have a personal income tax.

Can a Tax Attorney Help?

Tax collection can seriously harm one’s financial stability, or subject an individual to criminal prosecution. Of course, the IRS has been often known to make mistakes in dealing with these sorts of matters, just like anyone else. Hiring an attorney will help provide information and investigation into the issue of tax collection, and provide support in your defense. The IRS has the duty to prove any fraudulent activity, or the timely filing of all assessments made. An attorney will ensure that the IRS carries all of its burdens in proving you’ve done any wrong.

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