Advocacy and Representation in Court Frequently Asked Questions
Is US Tax Court just another court that specializes in tax cases?
US Tax Court is a federal court of record for hearing appeals of disputes concerning federal tax returns. It was established under Article 1 of the US Constitution, which concerns the Judiciary Branch of the government, but US Tax Court is distinct from other civil and criminal courts.
Is there a US Tax Court in every state?
The US Tax Court consists of 19 judges who travel to all 50 states to adjudicate tax cases. The judges serve a 15-year term.
How does a case end up before US Tax Court?
Typically, the IRS will send the taxpayer a “notice of deficiency” with adjustments the Agency wants to a tax return. The taxpayer can simply make the adjustments and pay the taxes required, or they can contest the adjustments to the IRS Appeals office. There may be some negotiations between the Agency and the taxpayer, but if they are not successful and the two parties cannot come to an agreement, the taxpayer may take the case to US Tax Court for remedy.
Is there such a thing as a tax court lawyer or tax court law firm, or can any lawyer appear before the court?
Lawyers who represent clients before the US Tax Court must be admitted to practice before the Court.
Unlike the U.S. District Court, the taxpayer does not have to pay the disputed tax amount to bring a case in the Tax Court.
Are all tax court cases the same, or are their different kinds?
Small Tax Cases are for amounts under $50,000. These proceedings are more informal and often involve verification of receipts and other contested documents. Regular Tax Court is for cases over $50,000. These cases require the IRS and the defendant’s lawyer prepare briefs according to technically complex specifications dictated by the court before the US Tax Court will hear the case. It is a good idea to engage a tax law firm to protect your interests in a Regular Tax Court proceeding.