Getting Down to Brass Tax: Why Courts Should Use Equitable Tolling to Help Taxpayer-Petitioners Impacted by COVID-19

30 Pages Posted: 10 May 2021 Last revised: 13 Jan 2022

See all articles by Hannah Fisher

Hannah Fisher

The University of Chicago Law School

Date Written: July 20, 2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic caused some of the sharpest rises in American unemployment and poverty seen in a generation. This left people with less money in their pockets, but also less time and access to resources to diligently pursue their legal rights and remedies. Congress responded by providing some financial aid via stimulus packages. But without accompanying procedural relief from various filing deadlines, many will face financial liabilities to the government they otherwise might not, particularly in the tax context. This Comment advocates for greater flexibility when taxpayer-petitioners miss filing deadlines due to COVID-19-related hardships. I argue that when time limits in the tax context can properly be considered non-jurisdictional claims-processing rules, courts can rely on precedent from other bodies of law to expand the use of equitable tolling, limited by a modified financial disability standard.

Keywords: equitable tolling, tax law, COVID-19, jurisdictional requirements, claims-processing rules

JEL Classification: K10, K34, K41

Suggested Citation

Fisher, Hannah, Getting Down to Brass Tax: Why Courts Should Use Equitable Tolling to Help Taxpayer-Petitioners Impacted by COVID-19 (July 20, 2021). University of Chicago Legal Forum, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841878 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3841878

Hannah Fisher (Contact Author)

The University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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