Tax: statute of limitation: ordinarily, the Government must assess a deficiency against a taxpayer within “3 years after the return was filed,” 26 U. S. C. §6501(a), but that period is extended to 6 years when a taxpayer “omits from gross income an amount properly includible therein which is in excess of 25 percent of the amount of gross income stated in the return,”§6501(e)(1)(A). Respondent taxpayers overstated the basis of certain property that they had sold. As a result, their returns understated the gross income they received from the sale by an amount in excess of 25%. The Commissioner asserted the deficiency outside the 3-year limitations period but within the 6-year period. The Fourth Circuit concluded that the taxpayers’ overstatements of basis, and resulting understatements of gross income, did not trigger the extended limitations period.
Held: The judgment is affirmed; JUSTICE BREYER delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to Part IV–C, concluding that §6501(e)(1)(A) does not apply to an overstatement of basis; the phrase “omits . . . an amount” limited the statute’s scope to situations in which specific receipts are left out of the computation of gross income. The Court also noted that while the statute’s language was not “unambiguous,” id., at 33, the statutory history showed that Congress intended to restrict the extended limitations period to situations that did not include overstatements of basis. Finally, the Court found its conclusion “in harmony with the unambiguous language of §6501(e)(1)(A),” id., at 37, the provision enacted as part of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 and applicable here (U.S.S.Ct., 25.04.12, United States v. Home Concrete & Supply, LLC, J. Breyer).