Statutes of Limitations in Federal Tax Cases

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Jason B. Freeman

Jason B. Freeman

Managing Member


Mr. Freeman is the founding member of Freeman Law, PLLC. He is a dual-credentialed attorney-CPA, author, law professor, and trial attorney.

Mr. Freeman has been named by Chambers & Partners as among the leading tax and litigation attorneys in the United States and to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers in America list. He is a former recipient of the American Bar Association’s “On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers” in America award. Mr. Freeman was named the “Leading Tax Controversy Litigation Attorney of the Year” for the State of Texas for 2019 and 2020 by AI.

Mr. Freeman has been recognized multiple times by D Magazine, a D Magazine Partner service, as one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas, and as a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service. He has previously been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Top 100 Up-And-Coming Attorney in Texas.

Mr. Freeman currently serves as the chairman of the Texas Society of CPAs (TXCPA). He is a former chairman of the Dallas Society of CPAs (TXCPA-Dallas). Mr. Freeman also served multiple terms as the President of the North Texas chapter of the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs. He has been previously recognized as the Young CPA of the Year in the State of Texas (an award given to only one CPA in the state of Texas under 40).

Statutes of Limitations in Federal Tax Cases

There are a number of statutes of limitations in the context of a federal tax debt.  The most important statutes of limitations with respect to civil tax matters are (1) the statute of limitations for the assessment of a tax, and (2) the statute of limitations for the collection of a tax that has been assessed.


The statute of limitations for collection is generally ten years from the date of assessment.[1] However, a number of events can “toll” the 10-year statute of limitations.  Among the more common “tolling” events are bankruptcy proceedings, collection due process hearing requests, innocent spouse relief requests, and offers in compromise.  Other events may toll or suspend the collection statute of limitations as well.

The statute of limitations for assessment of federal taxes is generally three years after the later of the date that the tax return was filed or the due date, including extensions.[2] The Internal Revenue Code (IRC), however, provides several exceptions to this general rule that can extend the limitations period to six years or even indefinitely.[3]

Sixty Days

Six Years


Failing to file information returns related to foreign assets are a common basis for the IRS asserting that the statute of limitations is extended.  Common foreign information returns include Form 5471, Form 3520, and Form 3520-A, among others.


[1] IRC at § 6502(a)(1).

[2] Id. at § 6501(a).

[3] See id. at § 6501(c) and (e).


Representation in Tax Audits & Appeals 

Need assistance in managing the audit process? Freeman Law’s team of attorneys and dual-credentialed attorney-CPAs regularly represents taxpayers before the IRS and Texas Comptroller. Our team also provides tax return-related representations and helps taxpayers navigate state tax laws. Our Firm offers value-driven services and provides practical solutions to complex issues. Schedule a consultation or call (214) 984-3000 to discuss our tax representation services.