An individual’s claim for innocent spouse relief was rejected for lack of jurisdiction because the taxpayer failed to file his petition within the 90-day deadline under Code Sec. 6015(e)(1)(A). The taxpayer argued that the deadline to file a petition for a denial of innocent spouse relief was not jurisdictional and asked that the Tax Court hear his case on equitable grounds. However, the Tax Court noted that a filing deadline is jurisdictional if Congress clearly states that it is. The IRS argued that argues that the 90-day filing deadline of Code Sec. 6015(e)(1)(A) was jurisdictional because Congress clearly stated that it was and the Supreme Court’s decision in Boechler, P.C. v. Commissioner, 142 S. Ct. 1493, in addition to numerous appellate cases, supported this argument.

The Tax Court examined the “text, context, and relevant historical treatment” of the provision at issue and concluded that the 90-day filing deadline of Code Sec. 6015(e)(1)(A) was jurisdictional. On the basis of statutory interpretation principles, the jurisdictional parenthetical in Code Sec. 6015(e)(1)(A) was unambiguous. It did not contain any ambiguous terms and there was a clear link between the jurisdictional parenthetical and the filing deadline. Specifically, Code Sec. 6015(e)(1)(A) is a provision that solely sets forth deadlines. Further, it was unclear what weight, if any, should be given to the equitable nature of Code Sec. 6015. The statutory context arguments were not strong enough to overcome the statutory text. Accordingly, the Tax Court ruled that the 90-day filing deadline in Code Sec. 6015(e)(1)(A) was jurisdictional.

P.A. Frutiger, 162 TC —, No. 5, Dec. 62,432