The Internal Revenue Code provides taxpayers wishing to claim a refund of an overpayment of taxes with a simple, straightforward provision setting forth a taxpayer's right to make such a claim. Additionally, regulations exist that provide for the procedure to be followed in order to claim a refund, further clarifying what is expected of the taxpayer. Unfortunately, not all situations that give rise to the right to claim a refund are so straightforward and simple. Taxpayers may find themselves in a situation that seems to have very little direct connection with tax, but may nonetheless result in significant tax consequences. Many of these situations may be unforeseen or rarely considered by the average taxpayer. Both the Treasury Department and the courts have attempted to fashion remedies for taxpayers dealing with these unexpected situations and their resulting consequences. However, inconsistency among these various remedies has left taxpayers and tax attorneys searching for a more concrete resolution. Seeking to strike an appropriate balance between promoting administrative efficiency, achieving fair results for the taxpayer while still requiring taxpayer diligence, and implementing an effective and equitable policy is a difficult but necessary task.

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