Tax Court in Arcata, California
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 Arcata, California.
Tax courts in America handle the vast majority of legal issues that concern federal tax obligations of a person or other legal entity, such as a corporation. There are several procedural rules that are meant to funnel tax issues into tax courts, without strictly requiring them to be heard there. For example, only tax courts can hear tax cases where the tax in question has not yet been paid. The courts of general jurisdiction - known as the U.S. District Court - can also hear tax cases, but they can only hear tax cases if the disputed tax bill has already been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Arcata, California
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Arcata, California 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.
U.S. Tax Court judges are appointed by the President. Their terms of office are legally set at 15 years. However, the vast majority of tax court judges are simply appointed again when their terms run out, and there is no limit on the number of 15-year terms they can serve. As a practical matter, therefore, Tax Court judges effectively serve life terms.
U.S. tax courts are unique in that individuals who are not licensed to practice law in California, or any other U.S. jurisdiction, are allowed to represent clients before tax court. Non-lawyers who want to practice before the Tax Court do have to take an exam demonstrating that they have a good knowledge of tax law. Typically, non-lawyers who practice before the tax courts are experienced accountants. However, licensed attorneys can practice before tax courts without taking the special exam.
Typically, when the IRS sends a taxpayer in Arcata, California a notice of deficiency, indicating that they owe back taxes, the taxpayer has 90 days to file a claim in federal tax court to dispute this notice. If a claim is not filed in a timely manner, the taxpayer could lose his or her right to contest the tax bill at issue.
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Although the law lets certain non-lawyers represent parties before tax court, tax law is very complex 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.
If you are going to tax court, it should be discernible by now that you should seek the advice and assistance of a good Arcata, California 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.