Topic No. 160, Statute Expiration Date - RSED | ASED | CSED

Refund Statute Expiration Date (RSED)

The Refund Statute Expiration Date (RSED) is the end of the time period in which a taxpayer can make a claim with IRS for a credit or refund for a specific tax year(s). If a claim is not made within the specified time, then a taxpayer may no longer be entitled to a credit or refund.

Submitting a Claim for Refund

If you want to make a claim for refund with the IRS, we require that you provide a detailed set of facts showing the overpayment regarding which you're seeking a refund or credit, and include a written statement showing the claim is made under penalties of perjury. Generally, submitting a Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, will satisfy this requirement. The Instructions for Form 843 will provide you with the purpose of the form, explain when you can use the Form 843 to make a claim, when the form is not appropriate, and when another form is needed to make your claim.

Generally, you must file a claim for a credit or refund within three years from the date you filed your original tax return or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you file a claim after the three-year period, but within two years from the time you paid the tax, the credit or refund cannot be more than the tax you paid within the two years immediately before you filed the claim. See Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights, and Claims for Refund, for more information.

The time period for filing a claim for refund may be different if your claim was filed regarding an exception, like a bad debt or worthless security. Periods of financial disability may suspend the time limitation for making a refund claim too. For more information on exceptions and periods of financial disability, see Publication 556.

If you do not file a claim within the set time prescribed by the IRS, you may no longer be entitled to the credit or refund.

If your claim for refund is disallowed, you will receive a certified letter explaining why your claim was disallowed and your right to appeal. You may also file a Refund Suit with the United States District Court or with the United States Court of Federal Claims within the statutory (by law) two-year period after receiving the letter of disallowance. Additional information on appealing or filing a refund suit would be found in your certified letter of disallowance.

Assessment Statute Expiration Date (ASED)

The Assessment Statute Expiration Date (ASED) is the end of the time period in which the IRS can assess tax with respect to a particular tax year. The general rule is that an assessment of tax must be made within three years from the received date of an original tax return or three years from the due date of the original return, whichever is later.

Time to Assess Tax Can Be Extended

If you fail to file your tax return voluntarily, then the IRS can assess tax under the Substitute for Return (SFR) program. If your return was filed under the SFR program it does not set the three-year time limitation for the IRS to assess any additional tax. This means IRS can assess tax and additional tax at any time. If you decide to file your tax return, then a three-year time limitation is set, and the IRS can assess tax during this period. You may refer to Topic No. 153.

The time the IRS can assess tax can be extended if you agree with the IRS by signing a statutory waiver, or extension agreement. If the IRS proposes a waiver to extend the ASED, you can negotiate the proposed time limitation to assess, or refuse to sign the waiver.

If you omitted more than 25% of your gross income from a tax return, the time the IRS can assess additional tax increases from three to six years from the date your tax return was filed.

If you file a false or fraudulent return with the intent to evade tax, the IRS has an unlimited amount of time to assess tax.

The IRS cannot assess tax after the time limitation period for assessment has expired.

Additional information on the expiration for the time to assess tax and the length of extensions can be found in Publication 1035, Extending the Tax Assessment PeriodPDF.

Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED)

The Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED) marks the end of the collection period, the time period established by law for the IRS to collect taxes. The CSED is normally ten years from the date of the assessment.

Tax assessments with their own Collection Statute Expiration Date include but are not limited to:

  • Original tax assessments from voluntarily filed returns
  • Tax assessments arising from amended return filings
  • Substitute for Return tax assessments made by the IRS
  • Audit assessments
  • Civil penalty assessments

The IRS's Time to Collect Can Be Suspended and/or Extended

The initial ten-year CSED can be pushed out or prolonged by certain events.

The CSED collection period is generally suspended when the IRS is prohibited from collecting tax. The time the IRS can collect is pushed out by the period it is suspended. In other words, the initial ten-year limit to collect is no more than the original ten-years. The IRS generally doesn't take levy action during the time the collection period is suspended, but there are some exceptions.

In contrast, the collection period is extended when the IRS is legally authorized a specific amount of time be added to the initial ten-years to collect. The IRS is not prohibited or stopped from collecting when the collection period is extended.

Suspending and extending the collection period both delay the CSED.

Common Events That Can Impact the CSED

A variety of laws affect the CSED. More than one action can suspend the running of the collection period. However, overlapping situations run simultaneously; the time for multiple events is not added more than once where one event may overlap another.

If you request an Installment Agreement (IA), the time the request is pending pushes out, or suspends the running of, the initial ten-year collection period. An IA request is often pending until it can be reviewed, and an IA is established, or the request is withdrawn or rejected. If the requested IA is rejected, the running of the collection period is suspended for 30 days. Similarly, if you default on your IA payments and the IRS proposes to terminate the IA, the running of the collection period is suspended for 30 days. Last, if you exercise your right to appeal either an IA rejection or termination, the running of collection period is suspended by the time the appeal is pending to the date the appealed decision becomes final. Refer to Topic No. 202.

If you file for Bankruptcy, the running of the collection period is suspended during the time the bankruptcy is pending. Generally, a bankruptcy is pending from the time a petition is filed to the date the bankruptcy is discharged, dismissed, or closed. Further, the running of the collection period is extended for an additional 6 months upon the conclusion of the bankruptcy. Refer to Publication 908, Bankruptcy Tax Guide.

If you submit an Offer in Compromise (OIC), the running of the collection period is suspended from the date the offer is pending to the date the offer is accepted, returned, withdrawn, or rejected. If your Offer is rejected, the collection period is suspended for an additional 30 days and, if you file an appeal of the rejection, during the period the appeal is pending. Refer to Topic No. 204.

If you request a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing, the running of the collection period is suspended from the date the IRS receives the CDP request to the date the taxpayer withdraws the request or the date the CDP determination becomes final, including any court appeals. If less than 90 days until the CSED remains when the determination becomes final, the collection period is extended to 90 days from the date of the final determination. Refer to Publication 1660, Collection Appeal RightsPDF.

If you file an Innocent Spouse claim, then only the running of the requesting spouse's collection period is suspended from the date the Innocent Spouse Claim was filed until the earlier of the date a waiver is filed, or until the expiration of the 90-day period for petitioning tax court, or if tax court is petitioned, the date the tax court decision becomes final, plus, in each instance, the collection period is extended an additional 60-days.

When a specific collection period ends, the IRS may not initiate administrative or judicial collection of the assessed debt.