Tax Court Lawyers in Ketchikan
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 Ketchikan, 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 Ketchikan, Alaska
Tax court claims in Ketchikan, 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 appointed by the President. Unlike most other federal judges, who serve for life, judges on the U.S. Tax Court serve 15 year terms. However, they can serve an unlimited 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.
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 Ketchikan, 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.
Do I Need a Ketchikan, Alaska Tax Attorney?
Federal law allows some non-lawyers to represent people before U.S. Tax Courts. However, 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 Ketchikan, 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.