WINFORD v. UNITED STATES
Last Updated: 06 May 2015
On August 24, 2012 the United States District Court, Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division, published its decision in Laura Harris Winford v. United States, Docket Number 2:12-cv-00322 (link to Leagle site).
Winford is one of three executors of the Estate of Laura McEldowney Bishop, who died October 29, 2002. In July 2003 the Estate filed Form 4768 to request an extension of time to file the estate tax return and submitted a payment of $230,884 with the Form 4768. The Estate did not specifically designate the funds as a "deposit."
Because of litigation in state court, the estate tax return was not filed until June 12, 2009. It showed an estate tax due of $94,598 and an overpayment of $136,286, which the estate expected to be refunded. The IRS treated the funds submitted with the Form 4768 as a "payment of taxes," relying on cases in which payments had been submitted with Forms 4868 that requested extensions of time to file income tax returns, and concluded that the period within which a claim for refund could be filed had expired before the return (and claim) was filed. The Estate argued that the funds submitted with the Form 4768 were a "deposit" of funds, a claim for which could be filed at any time.
The Court considered the cases on which the IRS relied, dealing with funds submitted with Forms 4868, as not applicable to Form 4768 filings and that funds submitted with a Form 4768 are not per se a "payment of tax." The facts and circumstances in this case compelled the Court to dismiss the IRS contention that the funds submitted with the Form 4768 were a payment of tax, with the consequence that the Estate's claim for refund was not barred on that ground.