Nunc pro tunc

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Nunc pro tunc is a Latin expression in common legal use in the English language. It means now for then. In general, a court ruling "nunc pro tunc" applies retroactively to correct an earlier ruling.


Nunc pro tunc is a phrase which theoretically applies to acts that are allowed to be done after the time expires. In the probate of an estate, if real property, such as lands, mineral interests, etc., are discovered after the Final Decree or Order, a nunc pro tunc order can include these discovered lands or assets into the estate and clarify how they were meant to be distributed.

Corporate application[edit]

A corporation may have been created by an individual, but since a corporation, in the United States, has the standing in law of a person (although not a natural person), it is possible for its human creator to go bankrupt and for the assets of the corporation to be seized to satisfy unpaid taxes. Then, if others bought the assets from the tax authority and the corporation shell passed into other hands, it is possible for the person who bought the assets to also buy the corporation shell and, after paying corporate franchise taxes, for that person to claim that the corporation is the original corporation with the original assets.

IRS application[edit]

According to IRS Notice 2007-30, the following is considered a "frivolous" position and is subject to $5,000 fine. Inserting the phrase “nunc pro tunc” or similar arguments on a return or other document submitted to the Service has no legal effect, such as reducing a taxpayer’s tax liability, and such phrase is described as frivolous in Rev. Rul. 2006-17, 2006-15 I.R.B. 748.[1]


A judgment nunc pro tunc is an action by a trial court correcting a clerical (rather than judicial) error in a prior judgment. A nunc pro tunc may be signed even after the trial court loses its plenary power. For appellate purposes, a nunc pro tunc judgment correctly taken ordinarily does not extend appellate deadlines.


  1. ^ "Internal Revenue Bulletin No. 2006". Internal Revenue Service. April 10, 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  • Black's Law Dictionary = Nunc pro tunc
  • Barron's Law Dictionary = Nunc pro tunc

External links[edit]

  • Lectric Law Library = offers a definition where, by forgetfulness, a final decree is not requested in a divorce, yet one party has remarried. The court may grant a nunc pro tunc leave to file the papers to enable the granting of a retroactive divorce. An editorial opinion is offered that application of nunc pro tunc is granted to render justice, but never injustice. However, rendering justice does not necessarily mean doing no harm and because corrupt courts do exist, it is possible to do that which is legal for unethical reasons.