The Internal Revenue Service may have to return most of a $7,000 check that a 93-year-old man mistakenly wrote to the agency in 1984, a federal appeals court ruled.
In 1991 his daughter filed a tax return on his behalf and asked for a refund, saying he had been senile and meant to write the check for $700. It turned out he really only owed $427 in taxes.The IRS refused to return the $6,573 difference, noting that federal law requires refund claims to be filed within two years of the time the tax was paid.
But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the deadline can be excused if a judge in Los Angeles determines that Stanley McGill was incompetent when he wrote the check.
"It would be unconscionable to allow the government to retain money that it concedes it was not owed and may have only received due to a 93-year-old man's senility," Judge Charles Wiggins wrote.