John and Louisa A. Hodel - Page 15

          refund claim they had based on the return.  Sec. 6511(d)(2)(A).             
          Because the overpayment arose from an NOL carryback, petitioners            
          had to file a refund claim on or before August 15, 1993.  Id.               
          Petitioners did not file a written claim for refund, nor did they           
          raise the issue on their 1986 or 1989 returns.  The statute                 
          therefore bars the claim unless petitioners can prove that:  (1)            
          They filed an "informal claim" putting the IRS on notice of their           
          refund claim; (2) the IRS is equitably estopped from raising a              
          statute of limitations defense; or (3) the period of limitations            
          is equitably tolled.3                                                       
               The validity of certain informal refund claims has long been           
          recognized by the Supreme Court:                                            
               a notice fairly advising the Commissioner of the nature of             
               the taxpayer's claim, which the Commissioner could reject              
               because too general or because it does not comply with                 
               formal requirements of the statute and regulations, will               
               nevertheless be treated as a claim, where formal defects and           
               lack of specificity have been remedied by amendment filed              
               after the lapse of the statutory period.  * * *                        
          United States v. Kales, 314 U.S. 186, 194 (1941).  "[I]n order to           
          be valid, an informal claim must have a written component which             
          adequately notifies the * * * [IRS] that a refund is sought for a           
          particular year."  Alisa v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1976-255;              
          see also Mills v. United States, 890 F.2d 1133, 1135 (11th Cir.             

          3    As an initial matter, the Court notes that the IRS cannot              
          waive the statute of limitations.  Vishnevsky v. United States,             
          581 F.2d 1249, 1252-1253 (7th Cir. 1978); Essex v. Vinal, 499               
          F.2d 226, 231 (8th Cir. 1974).  There is no contention in this              
          case that the IRS agreed to extend the statutory period of                  

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