The complaint, filed Dec. 27 in Tampa, Florida federal court, seeks to reclaim the funds issued to Steinbrenner on Dec. 28, 2009. The refund stemmed from disputes between Steinbrenner and the Internal Revenue Service over the 2001 tax year and audits of the Major League Baseball team’s parent company for 2001 and 2002, according to court papers.
Harold Steinbrenner, known as Hal, is one of the children of George Steinbrenner, the former Yankees owner who died in 2010. George Steinbrenner and the IRS settled the issues raised in the audit in an agreement accepted on March 1, 2007, according to the complaint.
That agreement resulted in adjustments to the tax returns of the beneficiaries of a family trust, including Hal Steinbrenner’s 25 percent share. According to the complaint, Hal Steinbrenner paid his taxes in 2008, and then filed an amended 2001 tax return in 2009 seeking a refund because of a $6.8 million net operating loss carried back from 2002.
The IRS paid the refund -- and then said that the refund claim should have been filed by March 1, 2009, more than five months before Hal Steinbrenner sought the refund.
“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, said in an e-mailed statement.
Grant Williams, a spokesman for the IRS in Washington, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The case is U.S. v. Harold Z. Steinbrenner and Christina L. Steinbrenner, 11-02840, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Tampa).