The Tax Code provides that the IRS generally may not select an individual, partnership, or corporate tax return for audit after a period of three years has expired, dating from the tax return’s filing date or due date, whichever is later. For example, if a taxpayer filed his 2011 Form 1040 on February 10, 2012, and the due date for the filing of returns that year was April 17, 2012, then the statute of limitations period ends on April 17, 2015, and not February 10, 2015. On the other hand, if the taxpayer filed his tax return late, on November 10, 2012, and had not obtained an extension of time to file, the statute of limitations period would run from November 10, 2012.
If a taxpayer receives an extension of time to file the return (for example, an automatic six-month extension until October 15), however, the return is considered filed on the actual date of filing rather than the extension date. On the other hand, filing an amended tax return, such as a Form 1040X, however, would generally have no effect on the three-year period if it does not increase tax liability. For example, if the taxpayer filed his tax return on April 17, 2012, subsequently discovered a missing item of deduction, and filed an amended return on May 15, 2012 that did not increase his tax liability, the three-year state of limitations period will still run from April 17, 2012 to April 17, 2015.
For more information on the statute of limitations on tax assessments and any exceptions, please contact our office at (908) 425-4414.