Tax Court in Fairbanks, Alaska

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Tax Court is a legal forum designed particularly to resolve claims and disputes that arise under federal and (sometimes) state tax law.

At the national level, we have the United States Tax Court, that has locations all over the country. This means that there is a U.S. tax court in or near Fairbanks, Alaska.

The United States Tax Court handles most legal disagreements that have to deal with federal, as opposed to state, taxes. These are not courts of "general jurisdiction" (courts that hear the vast majority of civil and criminal cases). Tax courts are able to hear cases where the tax bill in dispute has not yet been paid (effectively allowing a court to rule on the validity of a tax bill before the taxpayer pays it). The courts of general jurisdiction in the U.S. (called the U.S. District Courts) can only hear tax cases if the tax bill has already been paid.

Tax Court Procedure in Fairbanks, Alaska

Tax court claims in Fairbanks, Alaska can arise from any tax dispute, such as when a taxpayer believes that the conclusions of a tax audit were in error, or that they do not owe as much money as the IRS claims that they do.

Tax courts in the United States are presided over by judges who are assigned by the President. Unlike most other federal judges, who serve for life, judges on the U.S. Tax Court serve 15 year terms. Nonetheless, they can serve an endless number of these terms, and if they do their jobs competently, they are almost always re-appointed when their terms are up, meaning that the vast majority of them effectively serve for life.

U.S. tax courts are distinct in that individuals who are not licensed to practice law in Alaska, or any other U.S. jurisdiction, are allowed to represent clients before tax court. Non-lawyers who want to practice before the Tax Court do have to take an exam demonstrating that they have a good knowledge of tax law. Typically, non-lawyers who practice before the tax courts are experienced accountants. However, licensed attorneys can practice before tax courts without taking the special exam.

Typically, residents of Fairbanks, Alaska will end up in tax court because the IRS, or another tax agency, has alleged that they have failed to pay all the taxes that they owe. In the interest of due process, the IRS will send the taxpayer a letter informing them that they owe back taxes. At this point, the taxpayer will have something like 90 days to go to Tax Court to fight these allegations, if they so desire. If you do not file a response within the allotted time, the tax bill will become final, and you will have no legal means to contest it.

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Do I Need a Fairbanks, Alaska Tax Attorney?

Federal law allows some non-lawyers to represent people before U.S. Tax Courts. Nonetheless, the tax laws are very convoluted. In fact, most tax attorneys don't practice any other area of law.

So, if you plan on going to tax court, it should go without saying that you should hire a Fairbanks, Alaska tax attorney. While a non-lawyer admitted to practice before tax court may well give you competent representation, you will have much stronger recourse against a licensed attorney if they negligently botch your case.

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