United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
Melvin P. White, Jr., Plaintiff,
United States Internal Revenue Service, Defendant.
ORDER & MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION
T. Numbers, II, United States Magistrate Judge.
Melvin P. White, Jr. asks the court to allow him to proceed
with his action without paying the required filing fee and
other costs associated with litigation (colloquially known as
proceeding in forma pauperis or IFP). The court may grant his
request if he submits an affidavit describing his assets and
the court finds that he cannot pay the filing fee. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. In assessing a request to proceed IFP, the court
should consider whether the plaintiff can pay the costs
associated with litigation “and still be able to
provide himself and his dependents with the necessities of
life.” Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours &
Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948) (internal quotations
omitted). As part of its evaluation of White's request,
the court must also consider the viability of his claims. If
the court determines that the Complaint is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, it must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
White qualifies for IFP status, the district court should
dismiss his complaint because his tax refund claim is barred
by the statute of limitations and he cannot maintain a Bivens
claim against the IRS.
says that he overpaid his federal taxes in an amount totaling
$8, 720.00 for the years 1987, 1988, 1991, 1996, 1997, and
2004. White does not say when or how he learned of the
overpayments, or why the overpayments occurred. Along with
seeking a refund, White claims he is entitled to monetary
damages from the IRS for a violation of his Fourth Amendment
rights stemming from its refusal to refund his overpayment.
D.E.1 at 8, 19.
filed his tax returns on time in each year he allegedly
overpaid his taxes. In February 2009, he contacted the IRS
about a refund for overpayment he made in 1987. Over the next
three months, White filed refund requests for the other
overpayments. In response, the IRS acknowledged that White
overpaid his taxes in 1997 and 2004 but told him that the
statute of limitations barred his claim for a refund.
2018, nine years after receiving the IRS's response,
White sued the IRS in state court. But a state-court judge
dismissed his case in February 2019 due to a lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. D.E.1 at 9. White filed his claim in
federal court that same month.
Application to Proceed in District Court without Prepaying
Fees or Costs
requests permission to proceed without paying the fees and
costs typically associated with filing a civil action. The
court has reviewed White's Application and has determined
that his monthly income does not greatly exceed his monthly
expenditures. The court finds that White lacks enough
resources to pay the costs associated with litigation, and
thus grants the Application (D.E. 1), and will allow White to
proceed without full prepayment of fees and costs.
Screening Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915/1915A
of its evaluation of White's request, the court must also
consider the viability of his claims. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e). The court reviews a complaint to eliminate those
claims that unnecessarily impede judicial efficiency and the
administration of justice. The court must dismiss any portion
of the complaint it determines is frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. Id. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
The Statute of Limitations under the Internal Revenue
Internal Revenue Code requires that taxpayers seeking a
refund of taxes improperly assessed must first file a claim
with the IRS before the taxpayer can seek relief in a court
of law. 26 U.S.C. § 7422(a). After exhausting the
remedies available to him with the IRS, a taxpayer may seek a
refund by bringing a claim in a U.S. district court. 28
U.S.C. § 1346(a)(1).
has established a statute of limitations for claims that a
taxpayer has overpaid their taxes. Any claim for a
“refund of an overpayment of any tax” must be
“filed by the taxpayer within three years from the time
the return was filed or two years from the time the tax was
paid[.]” 26 U.S.C. § 6511(a). Yet White did not
file his request for a refund until 22 years after he made
his first overpayment ...