At some point, you ended up in a dispute with the IRS. After exhausting all the internal processes provided by the agency, you are still not satisfied with the result. If your situation qualifies, you could end up heading to the U.S. Tax Court. This independent federal court only hears cases regarding taxes.
More than likely, you have a lot of questions regarding this specialized court and the basics of the process. Below is a general explanation of what you can expect.
Cases in the U.S. Tax Court
Taxpayers like you initiate most of the cases that end up in this court, as the result of an audit. If you disagree with the results, you have 90 days of your receipt of a notice of deficiency to file your case. If the amount in question is less than $50,000, you may be able to file a “small tax case,” which gives you the opportunity to take advantage of a less formal and simpler process. The only caveat is that neither you nor the IRS can appeal the results.
It is up to you to support your position with credible evidence. The IRS will then either prove your information wrong or accept it. A good portion of your evidence will most likely come from documentation, but you may also bring witnesses as well.
Decisions from the U.S. Tax Court
If you filed a small tax case, you cannot appeal the decision of the court. However, if you did not file a small tax case, you can appeal the court’s decision. You do not have to pay the taxes that are the subject of the dispute until the court makes a decision, but interest will continue to accrue if you don’t.
Representation in the U.S. Tax Court
Because few people across the country and here in Georgia end up in the U.S. Tax Court, few individuals or business owners understand its processes, what constitutes good evidence and whether they should bring witnesses. Considering what may be at stake, it would most likely be in your best interest to take advantage of your right to legal representation in the U.S. Tax Court.
Just as few people have the expertise to take their cases to the court, not as many lawyers are well-versed in the tax law and how the court operates. For this reason, it would be a good idea to seek out the experience and knowledge of an attorney who routinely handles these matters on behalf of individuals like you.