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Late Raiders Owner Still Owes Taxes

The late Oakland Raiders owner still owes the IRS nearly $2.5 million after breaching provisions of a tax litigation settlement, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

Al Davis, who owned the National Football League team for 50 years, sued the IRS for refunds for 1990, 1992 and 1995, for failing to allow him 60 days to review its calculations of his tax assessments as required in terms of the contractual agreement in the tax litigation.

A trial judge found the IRS breached the closing agreement with Davis and he filed suit in 2011, a few months before he died.  The IRS admitted it breached the 60-day review term of the agreement, but the appeals court said the IRS’s breach of the contract entitled him to a contract remedy, not invalidation of the assessments.

The court rejected his widow, Carol Davis’s, attempt to claim a refund for the taxes based on the breach.  The appeals court said the IRS assessments were timely.  The IRS made the assessments just as the statute of limitations was about to expire. It applied refunds Davis was owed to earlier years to satisfy those assessments.

In 2007, the IRS assessed Davis $501,000 for 1990, $1.8 million for 1992 and $159,000 for 1995. The Davis estate pursued the 2011 suit seeking refunds for those three years.

Davis not only owed the Raiders for 50 years, he had been a football icon, inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992. During his ownership the Raiders appeared in five super bowls and won three of them. He had served as a coach and general manager before becoming principal owner of the team.

He engaged in a lengthy legal battle in the 1980s to move the team to Los Angeles and later moved the team back to Oakland.

The opinion by Judge Andrew Hurwitz was joined by Chief Judge Sidney Thomas and Jude Sandra Ikuta.

Case: Davis v. U.S., No. 13-16458



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