As the World Turns: Court Rebuffs Novel Spin on International Tax Filing Rules

By Hale Sheppard

For better or worse, many a tax dispute has been won or lost on procedure, often on the question of whether a document – be it a tax return, refund claim, or petition – was timely filed.  The centrality of this issue helps explain the renown of the otherwise unremarkable “mailbox rule” (a.k.a. the “timely-mailing-is-timely-filing rule”).

The attached article, published in the International Tax Review, examines a recent case, Dietsche v. Commissioner, in which the Tax Court ruled that a petition mailed from New Zealand and postmarked the day after its due date was not timely filed, even though, measured by the Tax Court’s time zone, the petition was timely.

Dietsche v. Commissioner offers a chance to review the mailbox rule, discover how this rule has evolved to address international issues and foreign postmarks, and gauge the Tax Court’s threshold for novel arguments. The attached article explores these topics in hopes of helping taxpayers (and their advisers) avoid potential pitfalls.

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