Personal Liability of Executors for Tax Liabilities of the Estate Under the Federal Priority Statute, 31 U.S.C. 3713

Publication Name: 

Personal Liability of Executors for Tax Liabilities of the Estate Under the Federal Priority Statute, 31 U.S.C. 3713

Date: 
Monday, February 6, 2017

 

United States v. McNicol 829 F.3d 77, (1st Cir. July 15, 2016) aff’g 2014 WL 4384486, 114 A.F.T.R. 2,d 2014-5919 (D. Mass., 2014)

This is an appeal of summary judgment by the personal representative (the “PR”) of an estate. The lower court found the PR to be personally liable under the federal priority statute, Section 3713, for tax liabilities due from an insolvent estate. Under the federal priority statute, if an insolvent debtor or estate has an outstanding tax liability, the Government has priority on the payment of their claim. The PR can be held personally liable if they transfer the assets of an estate before paying the tax liability to the Government.

The Appeals Court affirmed the lower court’s prior ruling that the federal priority statute claim was valid. The Appeals Court also found that the PR’s argument for equitable exceptions was fatally flawed and, therefore, failed. The estate, the appellant as PR of the estate, and the appellant, individually, were held liable for the Government’s claims.

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