Tax Court Lawyers in Clanton
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 an U.S. tax court in or near Clanton, Alabama.
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 permitting 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 Clanton, Alabama
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Clanton, Alabama can end up in tax court. Most commonly, 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 contentions.
In the U.S., tax court judges are appointed by the President of the United States. Unlike judges on most other federal courts, who normally serve for life (or until they retire), tax court judges serve terms of 15 years. But, there is no limit to the number of terms that they are allowed to serve. If a tax court judge has been doing his or her job competently, the President will normally re-appoint them whenever their term expires, effectively giving them life tenure.
Federal tax court is somewhat unique in that individuals who are not licensed attorneys in Alabama (or anywhere else) may represent taxpayers before the tax court, as long as they can pass an exam indicating that they have a good understanding of tax law. Licensed lawyers do not need to take this exam to practice before tax court.
Most commonly, a resident of Clanton, Alabama will find themselves in tax court because the relevant tax authority (usually the IRS), suspects that they have not paid all of the taxes that they are required to pay. To initiate a legal action against the taxpayer, the IRS will send them a letter laying out its allegations. Once this is received, the taxpayer has a moderate period of time (about 90 days) to go to the nearest U.S. tax court and respond. If you find yourself in this position, and want to dispute the allegations against you, you MUST file a response in a tax court in a timely manner. If you don't, you can easily lose your right to ever dispute those allegations again.
Do I Need a Clanton, Alabama Tax Attorney?
Although the law lets certain non-lawyers represent parties before tax court, tax law is very complicated and often difficult to understand - to the point that almost all attorneys who practice tax law practice it exclusively, simply because maintaining competence leaves little time to learn any other area.
So, if you need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should obtain the counsel of a good tax attorney in Clanton, Alabama. 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 considerable legal recourse against them.