Tax Court in Unalaska, Alaska

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Tax Court is a legal forum designed specifically 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, which has locations all over the country. This means that there is a U.S. tax court in or near Unalaska, Alaska.

The United States Tax Court handles most legal disputes 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 Unalaska, Alaska

Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Unalaska, Alaska can end up in tax court. Most often, a dispute ends up in tax court when the government claims that someone has not paid all of the taxes that they are legally obligated to pay. If the taxpayer disputes the factual basis of the allegation, or believes the IRS has misinterpreted the law, U.S. Tax Courts have to decide those issues.

Federal tax courts are presided over by judges who are appointed by the President of the United States. These judges serve 15-year terms. Judges whose terms expire are routinely re-appointed by the sitting President, so most tax court judges effectively serve for life.

In the U.S., tax courts have some unique features. Most interestingly, individuals who are not licensed attorneys in Alaska, or anywhere else, are, in some cases, allowed to represent clients before tax courts. Non-attorneys who practice before tax court are almost always accountants, and any non-lawyer who wants to practice before the U.S. tax court must pass a difficult written exam that tests their understanding of American tax law. Licensed attorneys, however, may practice before the tax court without taking this exam.

Most often, when the IRS sends a Unalaska, Alaska resident a "notice of deficiency," which alleges that they owe back taxes, the taxpayer has 90 days to go to tax court, and file a claim in tax court to fight this allegation. If you don't file this claim within the allotted time, you can lose your right to dispute the tax bill in question, in any forum, permanently.

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Do I Need a Unalaska, Alaska Tax Attorney?

Although federal tax court allows, under some circumstances, non-lawyers to represent taxpayers, the practice of tax law is extremely complicated and specialized. Many attorneys who practice tax law do not practice in any other area.

So, if you need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should seek the counsel of a good tax attorney in Unalaska, 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.

1 Tax Law cases posted to LegalMatch lawyers in Unalaska

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