Richard J. Sarni and Susan Sarni - Page 7

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          bar of the statute of limitations on assessment is an affirmative           
          defense, and the party raising it must specifically plead it and            
          carry the burden of proving its applicability.  Rules 39, 142(a).           
          If the taxpayer makes a prima facie case proving the filing date            
          of his or her income tax return and the expiration of the                   
          statutory period prior to the mailing of the notice of                      
          deficiency, the burden of going forward with the evidence shifts            
          to respondent.  Robinson v. Commissioner, 57 T.C. 735, 737                  
          (1972).  The burden of proof, i.e., the burden of ultimate                  
          persuasion, however, always remains with the party who pleads               
          that the assessment is barred by the statute of limitations.                
          Adler v. Commissioner, 85 T.C. 535, 540 (1985).                             
               On July 17, 2001, petitioners filed their 2000 return.  On             
          July 2, 2004, respondent issued the notice of deficiency.  If for           
          no other reason, because the notice of deficiency was issued                
          within 3 years of the date that the return was filed, respondent            
          issued the notice within the time prescribed under section                  
          6501(a), and the statute of limitations is not a bar to                     
          assessment.  See sec. 6503(a)(1) (suspending the running of the             
          period of limitations because of the issuance of a notice of                
          deficiency and the commencement of an action for                            
          D.  Estoppel                                                                
               Petitioners contend that respondent should be estopped from            
          denying petitioners’ claimed dependency exemption deduction for             

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