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DENNIS AND LAURA GAVIGAN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
RULING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
 The plaintiffs in this action, Dennis and Laura Gavigan, seek a refund
of income tax payments that they allegedly overpaid during the years 1993 through
1996. They also seek a refund of certain penalties imposed and collected by
levy as a result of their filing frivolous income tax returns. Now pending
before the court is the defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons
that follow, the defendant's motion for summary judgment [doc. #19 (3:99CV697
(DJS))] is GRANTED.
 After an examination of the complaint, affidavits, and
other documents on file, the court finds the following relevant
facts. In the Spring of 1997, the plaintiffs filed a tax
return for the year 1996 and amended tax returns for the
years 1993 through 1995. On each of these returns the plaintiffs
indicated that both their adjusted gross Income and their
taxable income was zero dollars, thereby concluding that
they were entitled to a full refund of all monies paid in
the form of income taxes for those years. The plaintiffs
claimed that, according to their calculations, they were
entitled to a total refund of $24,525.14.
 In response to these filings, the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) assessed a $500 frivolous-return penalty on each return
pursuant to 26 U.S.C. section 6702. The amount of the penalties
totaled $2000, and in November 1998, the IRS levied Dennis
Gavigan's bank account and collected $2,199.74 in penalties
and interest. This lawsuit followed.
 Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
a court must grant summary judgment if the pleadings and
supporting documents "show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322-23 (1986). All ambiguities must be resolved and all inferences
drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. Eastway Constr. Corp.
v. New York, 762 F.2d 243, 249 (2d Cir. 1985).
A. PLAINTIFFS' REQUEST FOR REFUND OF TAXES PAID
 The plaintiffs argue that they are entitled to a tax
refund because wages and compensation for personal services
do not constitute income for tax purposes. Though the allegations
and legal claims contained in the complaint and accompanying
papers are garbled and difficult to follow, the plaintiffs
appear to advance the following two-fold argument: a taxpayer
is not liable for taxes unless those taxes are first "assessed" by
the Treasury Secretary, and, in any event, compensation for
personal services rendered is not encompassed within the
definition of income under the Internal Revenue Code because
the Code limits the definition of income to gain resulting
from corporate activities.
 The plaintiffs' arguments are wholly without merit.
First, the IBS [sic] need not make a formal assessment of
tax liability before payment is necessary. See Brown v. United
States, 199 F.3d 1331, 1331 (9th Cir. 1999); see also Tornichio
v. United States, No.5:97CV2794, 1998 WL 381304, at *2 (M.D.
Ohio Mar. 12, 1998) (rejecting a similar attempt to distinguish
between "imposing" a tax and "creating" a
tax liability). "An assessment is merely a bookkeeping
procedure that permits the government to bring its administrative
apparatus to bear in collecting a tax." Zeier v. United
States, 80 F.3d 1360 (9th Cir. 1996) (rejecting an argument,
in an estate tax context, similar to the one advanced by
the plaintiffs in the case at bar). Although most taxes are
collected without an assessment, an assessment serves as
the basis on which the IRS acts against those who do not
voluntarily and timely pay their taxes. See Brown, 199 F.3d
 Second, the frivolous argument that wages are not income "has
been rejected so frequently that the very raising of it justifies
the imposition of sanctions." Connor v. Commissioner,
770 F.2d 17, 20 (2d Cir. 1985); Bey v. New York, 164 F.3d
617, 617 (2d Cir. 1998). Section 61(a) of the Internal Revenue
Code clearly defines gross income as "all income from
whatever source derived," which includes wages, salaries,
and compensation for services. 26 U.S.C. section 61(a); 26
C.F.R. section 1,61-2(a). The plaintiffs erroneously rely
on cases that have defined the scope of corporate income
to argue that non-corporate income is not taxable. "To
the contrary, . . . many of these cases state: 'income may
be defined as gain derived from capital, from labor, or from
both combined.'" Tornichio, 1998 WL 381304, at *3 (citations
omitted). The plaintiffs' claim that they are owed a refund
because they had no tax liability for the years 1993 through
1996 is therefore foreclosed by well- established law.
B. PLAINTIFFS' REQUEST FOR REFUND OF PENALTIES PAID
 The plaintiffs also seek a refund of $2,199.74 for the
penalties they were assessed as a consequence of filing frivolous
returns. As the defendant correctly argues, the United States,
as sovereign, may only be sued to the extent that it so consents.
United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586 (1941). Moreover,
the statute that authorizes civil actions against the United
States for a refund, 26 U.S.C. section 7422, 1 mandates,
as a jurisdictional prerequisite to such suit, the filing
of a claim for a refund. See 26 U.S.C. section 7422. According
to the record before the court, the plaintiffs failed to
file any such claim for a refund of the penalties. In light
of the foregoing, this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain
the plaintiffs" claim that they are entitled to a refund
of the penalties levied and collected. See Pechan v. United
States, 686 F.Supp. 410, 412 (E.D.N.Y. 1988) (citing Oldland
v. Kurtz, 528 F. Supp. 316, 322 (D. Colo. 1981)); Porto v.
I.R.S., No.88CV6955(RWS), 1989 WL 52343, *1 (S.D.N.Y. May
 For the above reasons, the motion for summary judgment
(doc. #19 (3:99CV697 (DJS))] is GRANTED. The clerk is directed
to close this case.
 So ordered.
 Dated at Hartford, Connecticut this 30th day of November
Dominic J. Squartrito
United States District Judge
1 Section 7422(a) provides the following:
No suit or proceeding shall be maintained in any court for
the recovery of any internal revenue tax alleged to have
been erroneously or illegally assessed or collected, or of
any penalty claimed to have been collected without authority,
or of any sum alleged to have been excessive or in any manner
wrongfully collected, until a claim for refund or credit
has been duly filed with the Secretary, according to the
provisions of law in that regard, and the regulations of
the Secretary established in pursuance thereof. 26 U.S.C.
section 7422(a) (emphasis added).
END OF FOOTNOTE
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