Tax Court Litigation
The United States Tax Court serves as a crucial platform for resolving disputes between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Taxpayers who find themselves at odds with the IRS can seek redress through the United States Tax Court, a specialized judicial forum designated to ensure a fair and impartial resolution of tax-related issues.
Established in 1969, the United States Tax Court is an independent judicial body that exclusively handles federal tax matters. It operates separately from the traditional federal court system and is designed to provide taxpayers with an avenue for contesting IRS determinations. Taxpayers can challenge various IRS actions, such as deficiency notices, penalty assessments, and tax collection efforts.
Tax Court cases often involve complex legal and financial considerations necessitating the involvement of experienced tax professionals. Taxpayers can choose to represent themselves or they can engage in the services of tax attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), or enrolled agents who possess specialized knowledge of tax laws and regulations. While CPAs and enrolled agents are certainly knowledgeable, at the end of the day, Tax Court proceedings are a judicial process and having a tax lawyer is crucial for effective representation in the Tax Court.
Taxpayers can initiate Tax Court proceedings by filing a petition within 90 days of receiving a notice of deficiency or other adverse determination from the IRS. This petition will outline the taxpayer’s position and the issues in dispute. An experienced tax attorney will be able to draft this petition with the required detail to make a compelling case and make sure it is filed with the Tax Court in a timely manner.
Tax Court cases are divided into two distinct types: small tax cases (S cases) and regular tax cases. Small tax cases are for any amounts of less than $50,000 for any single tax year. Decisions of the Tax Court in small tax cases are final and are not appealable. As such, having a seasoned tax attorney can be crucial because there are no avenues for appeal. Regular tax cases are for disputed amounts over $50,000 and are more complex, often requiring the taxpayer and the IRS to submit formal legal briefs, a complex and technical document outlining a party’s position. A tax lawyer will be indispensable in a regular tax case as they have the requisite knowledge and skill to draft this legal brief. Unlike small tax cases, regular tax cases are appealable to a higher federal court.
Regardless of whether a tax case is a small tax case or a regular tax case, the unique procedures of the Tax Court, necessitate the expertise of professionals who understand the nuances of both legal and financial matters and having a s