Limitation by Regulation: Heads the Service Wins, Tails the Taxpayer Loses?

Leandra Lederman, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Stephen W. Mazza, University of Kansas School of Law


When an Internal Revenue Code section does not contain an express deadline, or contains a limitation period that is at least arguably ambiguous in scope, the Treasury Department may promulgate regulations to fill the gap. A couple of recent cases, Lantz v. Commissioner, 132 T.C. 131 (2009) (reviewed by the court), rev'd and remanded, 607 F.3d 479 (7th Cir. 2010), and Intermountain Ins. Serv. of Vail, LLC v. Commissioner, 134 T.C. Mo. 11 (2010), 2010 WL 1838297, provide an interesting contrast because, in one, the Treasury imposed a deadline on a taxpayer benefit, where none existed in the statute, and, in the other, the Treasury tried to expand the scope of an extended statute of limitations on assessment.