Tax Court in Homer, 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 Homer, 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 Homer, Alaska

Tax court claims in Homer, 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 have one feature that's almost completely distinct in the U.S.: people who are not licensed attorneys in Alaska, or anywhere else, are allowed to represent clients in Tax Court. This doesn't mean, however, that anyone can walk in off the street and start practicing tax law. Before they can practice before a tax court, non-attorneys have to take and pass a written exam that tests their knowledge of U.S. tax law. People who are already licensed to practice law, on the other hand, can practice before a tax court without taking this test.

Typically, residents of Homer, 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 Homer, Alaska Tax Attorney?

Federal law allows some non-lawyers to represent parties in tax court. However, tax law is a fairly complicated and specialized legal field. Most lawyers who practice tax law do not practice any other area of law, giving you an idea of how specialized it is.

So, if you need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should seek the counsel of a good tax attorney in Homer, Alaska. While a non-lawyer who's licensed to practice before the tax courts may well give you perfectly competent representation, there are still advantages to hiring a lawyer. The main advantage is that lawyers are far more regulated in their profession than most non-lawyers. So, if a tax attorney severely damages your case due to negligence or incompetence, you will have significant legal recourse against them.

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