United States District Court, N.D. New York
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW OFFICE OF CLINICAL LEGAL
EDUCATION ROBERT G. NASSAU, ESQ. Attorneys for Plaintiff
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TAX DIVISION ARIE M. RUBENSTEIN, ESQ.
Attorneys for Defendant SCULLIN, Senior Judge
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
FREDERICK J. SCULLIN, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT
Houghmaster (“Plaintiff”) brings this action
against the United States of America
(“Defendant”) seeking a refund in the amount of
$13, 165.89 that he claims was wrongly withheld from his
taxes. See generally Dkt. No. 1, Complaint.
Defendant has moved to dismiss some of the claims in the
complaint pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See generally Dkt.
No. 11. Specifically, Defendant has moved to dismiss (1)
Plaintiff's claim for a $5, 006.00 refund from the 2012
tax year, and (2) Plaintiff's claim for a $4, 466.00
earned income credit from the 2015 tax year. See
generally Dkts. No. 11, 14.
alleges that he timely filed his 2012 federal income tax
return (Form 1040) (the “Original 2012 Return”)
by April 15, 2013. In that return, Plaintiff reported income
tax liability of $0 and self-employment tax liability of $1,
885. Plaintiff also claimed an earned income credit of $5,
891 and an additional child tax credit of $1, 000. Therefore,
Plaintiff's Original 2012 Return claimed a refund of $5,
006 ($6, 891 refundable credits, less 1, 885 in
self-employment tax), which he never received.
Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) audited
Plaintiff after he filed his Original 2012 Return. On
November 25, 2013, the IRS assessed that Plaintiff owed a tax
liability on his 2012 return and denied Plaintiff's claim
for a refund. On March 10, 2014, the IRS applied $79.62 of
Plaintiff's 2013 income tax refund against his
outstanding 2012 tax liability. The next year, on February
16, 2015, the IRS applied $3, 189.89 of Plaintiff's 2014
income tax refund against his outstanding tax liability.
These payments, totaling $3, 269.51, satisfied all of
Plaintiff's tax liability for 2012, including penalties
February 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Amended U.S. Individual
Income Tax Return for 2012 using Form 1040X (“Amended
2012 Return”). Plaintiff's Amended 2012 Return
averred that his Original 2012 Return was correct as filed;
and, therefore, he sought a refund of $8, 275.51 ($5, 006
claimed on his Original 2012 Return, plus $3, 269.51 paid in
2012 tax liability). The IRS denied Plaintiff's claim for
a refund on July 25, 2017.
Plaintiff alleges that he timely filed his federal income tax
return (Form 1040) for the 2015 calendar year. In that
return, he claimed an income tax liability of $0, a $4, 466
earned income credit, and a $1, 039 additional child tax
credit. Based on these credits and liabilities, and as a
result of $36 of income tax withholding, Plaintiff's 2015
Return claimed a refund of $5, 541, which he never received.
Subsequent to filing his 2015 Return, the IRS audited
Plaintiff's return and proposed to disallow his
dependency exemptions, earned income credit, and additional
child tax credit.
on these allegations, Plaintiff filed the complaint in this
action on December 8, 2017, pursuant to the Internal Revenue
Code, to recover federal income taxes paid for the 2012 and
2015 calendar years. See generally Dkt. No. 1.
case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) when the district court
lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate
it.” Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110,
113 (2d Cir. 2000) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)). “A
plaintiff asserting subject matter jurisdiction has the
burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that it
exists.” Id. (citing Malik v.
Meissner, 82 F.3d 560, 562 (2d Cir. 1996)).
“Indeed, a challenge to the jurisdictional elements of
a plaintiff's claim allows the Court ‘to weigh the
evidence and satisfy itself as to the existence of its power
to hear the ...