Tax Court Lawyers in Washington
Tax Court is a legal forum designed particularly to resolve claims and disputes that arise under federal and (sometimes) state tax law.
Almost all legal concerns having to do with federal taxes are resolved in the U.S. Tax Court, which has at least one courthouse in every state, and various courthouses in each of the larger states. This means that there is almost certainly a tax court in, or within a reasonable distance of, Washington, District of Columbia.
The U.S. Tax Court is where disagreements 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 guarantee that as many tax issues as possible are directly decided in tax court, rather than the overworked District Courts.
Tax Court Procedure in Washington, District of Columbia
Tax court claims in Washington, District of Columbia can arise from any tax conflict, 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 assigned by the President of the United States. Unlike judges on most other federal courts, who typically 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 typically 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 District of Columbia, or anywhere else, are permitted 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 frequently, when the IRS sends a Washington, District of Columbia 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.
Do I Need a Washington, District of Columbia Tax Attorney?
Although federal tax court permits, under some circumstances, non-lawyers to represent taxpayers, the practice of tax law is extremely intricate 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 pursue the counsel of a good tax attorney in Washington, District of Columbia. 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 substantial legal recourse against them.