IRS Claims Erroneous Refund Issued to Hal Steinbrenner

No doubt the Steinbrenners can still stir up controversy. This time it’s tax problems.

The Justice Department has sued Harold “Hal” Steinbrenner, co-owner of the New York Yankees and son of the late George Steinbrenner, over a $670,000 refund that they say was issued to him in error two years ago.  In 2009 Hal filed an amended 2001 return, seeking a refund because of a $6.8 million net operating loss carried back from 2002. The IRS paid out the refund but then determined that the amendment was filed 5 months too late. Full story here.

Hal Steinbrenner’s representatives had no knowledge of the lawsuit and had received no prior notices regarding this matter from the IRS or any other governmental agency.

~ Alice McGillion, a family spokeswoman

The IRS is notorious for dropping bombs on people without prior notice, but even I am a little surprised by this one. It seems like the IRS would have initially sent letters to the taxpayer informing him of the erroneous refund and requesting he pay it back. I can’t imagine they would have referred the case out to legal and then to the Justice Department unless they were up against some filing deadline and they needed to preserve their rights by filing suit.