Tax Court in Laguna Woods, 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 Woods, 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 really decided in tax court, rather than the overworked District Courts.

Tax Court Procedure in Laguna Woods, California

Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Laguna Woods, 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 normally 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 authorized 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.

Most commonly, when the IRS sends a Laguna Woods, California 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 Laguna Woods, California Tax Attorney?

Although federal tax court authorizes, under some circumstances, non-lawyers to represent taxpayers, the practice of tax law is extremely complex 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 obtain the counsel of a good tax attorney in Laguna Woods, 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 considerable legal recourse against them.

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