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Ahmed v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

August 5, 2019

MOHAMED SAMEH AHMED, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Catherine C. Eagles, District Judge.

         By statute, the United States has waived its sovereign immunity for claims by taxpayers based on reckless, intentional, or negligent disregard of Internal Revenue Code provisions by Internal Revenue Service employees while collecting taxes, so long as the taxpayer has exhausted administrative remedies and sues within two years after the cause of action accrues. Plaintiff Mohamed Sameh Ahmed has sued the United States under this statute, contending that IRS employees recklessly or intentionally disregarded relevant law when they seized his commercial property to collect purported unpaid taxes and attempted to sell it to satisfy back taxes that he did not owe. Because Mr. Ahmed's claims accrued more than two years before he raised them in this action, the motion to dismiss will be granted and the complaint will be dismissed.

         I.

         Procedural History and Allegations in the Second Amended Complaint

         In the operative complaint, Mr. Ahmed alleges that in 2006 and 2007 the IRS erroneously assessed him for unpaid employment taxes and then in 2015 wrongfully seized his commercial property in Woodleaf, North Carolina to collect these taxes. Doc. 22 at ¶¶ 7-8. The IRS tried to sell the seized property for less than fair market value by public auction on three separate occasions in 2015 and 2016 without success. Id. at ¶¶ 9- 12. In July 2016, Mr. Ahmed asked the IRS to release the levy and return his property. Id. at ¶ 12. He also made other requests for installment agreements that the IRS did not grant. Id. The IRS released the property in September 2016 after Mr. Ahmed proved he had paid employment taxes and after he paid $2, 840.49 to the IRS. Id. at ¶¶ 13, 15.

         On August 1, 2017, the IRS received an administrative claim from Mr. Ahmed seeking civil damages. See Doc. 23-2. He contended that the IRS prematurely levied a lien on his property and then failed to release the lien in violation of Internal Revenue Code provisions and regulations. See Id. The IRS denied the claim on August 28, 2017. See Doc. 22 at ¶ 6.

         On August 2, 2018, Mr. Ahmed filed the initial complaint in this action pro se against the United States, alleging mistakes and violations during the IRS's initial assessment and levy more than two years earlier. Doc. 1. After the United States filed a motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations and other grounds, see Doc. 11, he filed an amended complaint in November 2018. Doc. 14. The first amended complaint continued to reference problems with the initial assessment and levy, and it also identified at least one problem with an attempted sale on August 8, 2016. Id. at ¶ 41. After the United States again moved to dismiss on statute of limitations and other grounds, Doc. 15, Mr. Ahmed received leave to file a second amended complaint. Text Order 04/01/2019.

         In the second amended complaint, filed on April 15, 2019, Mr. Ahmed abandoned his claims arising out of the initial levy, apparently recognizing the time bar. See Doc. 22. Instead, he set forth detailed facts about various actions by the IRS after that initial levy. Those facts, construed liberally, [1] assert seven separate violations of the Internal Revenue Code by IRS employees:

1. A failure to release his property after an unsuccessful August 8, 2016, public auction, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 6335(e)(1)(D). Id. at ¶ 10.
2. A postponement of the property's sale following the unsuccessful August 8, 2016, public auction to a date after the statutory time limit, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 6335(e)(2)(F). Id. at ¶ 10.
3. A planned September 7, 2016, sale of the property at the IRS office in Atlanta, Georgia instead of the property's own county, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 6335(d). Id. at ¶ 11.
4. A failure to release the levy upon all or part of his property after his July 18, 2016 request even though the property's fair market value exceeded his tax liability, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 6343(a)(1)(E). Id. at ¶ 12.
5. A refusal to release the property from seizure after the September 7, 2016 advertised sale date until Mr. Ahmed made a one-time payment of $2, 455.13, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 6335. Id. at ¶ 12.
6. False statements to Mr. Ahmed and others on “numerous occasions” to “accomplish” the sale of his property misrepresenting that his tax liability had been verified, as required by 26 U.S.C. § 6331(j)(2)(A), in violation of an unspecified ...

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