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
Date Written: July 20, 2021
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: Suggested Citation