United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER (1) DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
AND (2) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
[ECF NOS. 17, 27]
P. GORDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
United States of America filed this lawsuit to reduce to
judgment unpaid federal income tax assessments owed by
Raymond and Lisa Crihfield (“taxpayers”), and to
foreclose its tax liens on two parcels of real property to
satisfy the tax liability. ECF No. 1. The Government moves
for summary judgment on its claims, arguing that it has
proven tax assessments against the taxpayers and holds valid
tax liens on the properties. ECF No. 17. Raymond Crihfield
moves to dismiss the Government's claims as untimely. ECF
parties are familiar with the facts, and I will not repeat
them here except where necessary to resolve the motions. The
Government's claims are not barred by the relevant
statute of limitations, so I deny Crihfield's motion to
dismiss. Because no genuine dispute remains that the
Government has assessed taxes against the taxpayers and has
valid tax liens on the properties, I grant summary judgment
in favor of the Government on its claims.
Government filed a complaint to reduce to judgment income tax
and related assessments made against Raymond Crihfield and
Lisa Crihfield for the 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010,
and 2011 tax years. ECF No. 1 at 14. The tax liabilities for
2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 derive from the amounts that
the taxpayers reported on their federal income tax returns
for those years plus accrued interest and penalties. ECF Nos.
19-3 through 19-7. The tax liabilities for the 2003 and 2004
tax years are based on an IRS audit and subsequent
adjustments made at the administrative level by the IRS
Appeals Office. ECF Nos. 19-1; 19-2. The taxpayers signed a
form accepting the IRS Appeals Office's adjustments
regarding tax years 2003 and 2004. ECF No. 20-2.
Government also seeks to foreclose its tax liens arising from
the assessments against two real properties denominated as
the Hardy property and the Windsong property. ECF No. 1 at
14-15, 17-18. The Government seeks an order directing the
sale of the Hardy and Windsong properties to pay the
taxpayers' federal tax liabilities. Id. at
18-19. It is undisputed that the taxpayers own the Hardy
property, which houses their principal residence. ECF Nos. 1
at 4; 4 at 2. The IRS recorded Notices of Federal Tax Lien on
September 27, 2010 and January 31, 2011. ECF Nos. 19-10;
19-11. On October 25, 2011, the taxpayers transferred the
Windsong property by quitclaim deed to their daughter, Amber
Crihfield. ECF No. 19-12. Amber Crihfield avers in a
declaration that she has no ownership or other legal interest
in the Windsong property. ECF No. 18.
motion to dismiss and response to the Government's motion
for summary judgment, Raymond Crihfield purports to represent
both himself and his wife, Lisa Crihfield. ECF Nos. 27, 31.
However, the ability to represent oneself in a proceeding
under 28 U.S.C. § 1654 is personal to each litigant and
does not permit a pro se litigant to represent other
parties. Simon v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins.
Co., 546 F.3d 661, 664 (9th Cir. 2008). As a result,
only Raymond Crihfield has moved to dismiss and responded to
the Government's motion for summary judgment. Lisa
Crihfield and Amber Crihfield have not moved to dismiss or
responded to the Government's motion.
Defendant Raymond Crihfield's Motion to Dismiss
Crihfield argues that the Government's claims are
untimely because a ten-year limitation period applies, and
thus the IRS's assessments regarding the 2003, 2004,
2005, 2006, and 2007 tax years are time-barred. The
Government responds that the limitations period is measured
from the year in which the tax assessment was made, rather
than the specific tax year at issue. So while tax years
2003-2007 fall outside the ten-year period before the 2017
filing of the complaint, the claims are timely given the
dates of the assessments.
may be dismissed as untimely “only when the running of
the statute [of limitations] is apparent on the face of the
complaint. United States ex rel. Air Control Techs. v.
Pre Con Indus., Inc., 720 F.3d 1174, 1178 (9th Cir.
2013) (quotation omitted). Under 26 U.S.C. § 6502(a)(1),
“the assessment of any tax . . . may be collected by
levy or by a proceeding in court . . . within 10 years after
the assessment of the tax.” The statute makes no
mention of the tax year for which an assessment was made. As
a result, the fact that tax years 2003-2007 fall outside the
ten-year statutory window prescribed by § 6502 is not
dispositive of whether assessments for those years are
barred. Rather, the date of assessment, not the date the
taxpayers filed the return, controls. United States v.
Asiru, 222 Fed.Appx. 584, 586 (9th Cir. 2007); see
also Remington v. United States, 210 F.3d 281, 284 (5th
earliest assessment the Government seeks to collect in this
case was made on November 7, 2007. See ECF No. 20 at
4. As this and all other assessments fall within the ten-year
period prior to the November 14, 2017 filing of the
complaint, none is barred by the statute of limitations.
Because it is not apparent from the face of the complaint
that the statute of limitations has run for any of the
assessments at issue, I deny the motion to dismiss.
Government's Motion for Summary Judgment
judgment is appropriate where the “movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the initial burden
of production in identifying those portions of the record
which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). The burden then shifts to the non-moving party to
point to evidence in the record establishing the existence of
a genuine issue for trial. Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato
Johnson, 212 F.3d 528, 531 (9th Cir. 2000). Once the
moving party has met its burden, the non-moving party