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EC Term of Years Trust v. United States

Docket No.: 05-1541
Certiorari Granted: Oct 27 2006
Argued: February 26, 2007
Decided: April 30, 2007


Internal Revenue Code, patent, preemption, res judicata

PartyNames: EC Term of Years Trust v. United States
Petitioner: EC Term of Years Trust
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

EC Term of Years Trust
United States
550 U.S. 429 (2007)
Question Presented:

In September 1999, the Internal Revenue Service levied on a bank account owned by Petitioner containing §3,389,426.37. The purpose of the levy was to pay federal income taxes, penalties and interest assessed against Elmer W. Cullers, Jr. and Dorothy Cullers. On September 7, 2000, Petitioner filed a complaint against Respondent under 26 U.S.C. §7426 for a wrongful levy. On December 28, 2000, the district court dismissed the complaint for wrongful levy for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because it had been filed more than nine months after the levy and was time barred under 26 U.S.C. §7426. Petitioner then filed a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1346 to recover the funds seized through the levy. When the claim proved unsuccessful, Petitioner filed suit against Respondent to recover the sum of §3,389,426.37 under 28 U.S.C. § 1346. On November 22, 2004, the district court dismissed Petitioner's Complaint on the ground that a claim under 26 U.S.C. §7426 is the sole and exclusive remedy for a wrongful levy. Since Petitioner's complaint for a wrongful levy under 26 U.S.C. §7426 had been dismissed earlier due to being time barred, its complaint for a refund under 28 U.S.C. §1346(a) was also dismissed. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Petitioner's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1346 and held that 26 U.S.C. §7426 is the sole and exclusive remedy for a wrongful levy. The following question is presented: May a person who is not the assessed taxpayer utilize 28 U.S.C. § 1346 to seek a refund when its funds were seized through a wrongful levy and it had an opportunity to utilize the wrongful levy procedure under 26 U.S.C. §7426?


Can a party challenge, under 28 U.S.C. 1346(a)(1), an Internal Revenue Service tax levy on its property intended to collect taxes owed by another party, even if the party could have sued under 26 U.S.C. 7426 but failed to file the suit before the time limit expired?

Holding: affirmed
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By:

Read opinion

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