Tax Court in Laguna Hills, California

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Tax Court is a legal forum designed specifically to resolve claims and disputes that arise under federal and (sometimes) state tax law.

Federal tax issues are handled by the United States Tax Court, which has branches all over the U.S. So, the U.S. Tax Court almost certainly has a courthouse in or around Laguna Hills, California.

The U.S. Tax Court is where disputes arising under federal tax law are resolved, if the tax debt in question has not already been paid. The U.S. District Court, which is the federal court of general jurisdiction, can only hear tax cases after the tax has been paid. This rule is meant to ensure that as many tax issues as possible are actually decided in tax court, rather than the overworked District Courts.

Tax Court Procedure in Laguna Hills, California

Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Laguna Hills, California, or anywhere else in the U.S., can go to tax court. It's most often the case that the IRS initiates legal action against a taxpayer, alleging that they have failed to pay all of their required taxes, or are delinquent in some other way. The taxpayer usually has 90 days to respond, which initiates adversarial tax court proceedings. Failing to respond may result in the taxpayer forfeiting their rights to contest the allegations against them.

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.

Tax courts in the U.S. have a few unique features. Perhaps most notably, people who are not admitted to practice law in California, or in any other jurisdiction, are allowed to represent clients in tax court. However, non-lawyers must take, and pass, a fairly difficult exam to demonstrate that they have an in-depth understanding of U.S. tax law. If someone is already a lawyer, however, they can practice before a tax court without taking this exam.

Typically, when the IRS sends a taxpayer in Laguna Hills, 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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Do I Need a Laguna Hills, California Tax Attorney?

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.

So, if you need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should seek the counsel of a good tax attorney in Laguna Hills, California. 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.

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