Tax Court in Dothan, Alabama
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 Dothan, Alabama.
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 Dothan, Alabama
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Dothan, Alabama 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 determine those issues.
In the U.S., tax court judges are assigned by the President of the United States. Unlike judges on most other federal courts, who usually 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 permitted to serve. If a tax court judge has been doing his or her job competently, the President will usually re-appoint them whenever their term expires, effectively giving them life tenure.
U.S. Tax Courts have one feature that's almost completely distinct in the U.S.: people who are not licensed attorneys in Alabama, 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.
Most often, a resident of Dothan, 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.
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Although the law lets certain non-lawyers represent parties before tax court, tax law is very complex and often challenging 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.
If you are going to tax court, it should be obvious by now that you should seek the advice and assistance of a good Dothan, Alabama tax lawyer. This is not a knock against the non-lawyers who are licensed to practice before tax court; the vast majority of them are perfectly competent. However, if a licensed attorney seriously mishandles your case, you will have a great deal of legal recourse against them, more so than with a non-attorney.