Tax Court in Spanish Fort, Alabama
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 Spanish Fort, Alabama.
U.S. Tax Courts deal with almost every legal issue that has to do with the federal tax obligations of an individual or corporation. The U.S. District Courts are the courts of "general jurisdiction" in the U.S., meaning that they can hear almost any type of civil or criminal case under their jurisdiction. This includes tax cases, but the law only allows them to hear such cases if the tax in question has already been paid. Tax courts can hear cases before the tax has been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Spanish Fort, Alabama
Tax court claims in Spanish Fort, Alabama 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.
In the U.S., tax court judges are appointed 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 allowed 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 unique 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, when the IRS sends a Spanish Fort, Alabama 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 Spanish Fort, Alabama 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 Spanish Fort, 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 significant legal recourse against them.