Estate Beneficiaries Liable For Unpaid Estate Tax.

The decedent died in 2001 with a gross estate of  approximately $1.7 million and an estate tax return was filed reporting a net estate tax liability of $275,000.  The estate paid $123,000 and made an additional payment of $4,200 in 2009.  In 2008, the IRS entered into a settlement agreement with the estate for the outstanding estate tax liability whereby the estate tax would be paid in installments.  Ultimately, approximately $84,000 of estate tax, interest and penalties remained unpaid.  The IRS did not assess the failure to pay penalty of approximately $35,000 until early 2013 and the estate claimed that the penalty was time-barred via I.R.C. Sec. 6501(a) or 6502(a)(1).  The court determined that neither of those provisions applied and the assessment of the failure-to-pay penalty was not time barred.  The estate also claimed that the interest assessment was incorrectly calculated, but the court disagreed.  The court also determined that the beneficiaries of the estate were liable for the unpaid estate tax and rejected their arguments that the government should be equitably estopped from enforcing the judgment or that the government had violated their due process rights.  United States v. Estate of Hurd, No. CV12-7889-JGB (VBKx), 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3350 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 2015).

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