Tax Court Lawyers in Fort Walton Beach
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, Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
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 Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 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 obligated taxes, or are delinquent in some other way. The taxpayer typically 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 assigned by the President. Their terms of office are legally set at 15 years. Nonetheless, the vast majority of tax court judges are simply assigned 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, thus, Tax Court judges effectively serve life terms.
Federal tax court is somewhat distinct in that individuals who are not licensed attorneys in Florida (or anywhere else) may represent taxpayers before the tax court, as long as they can pass an exam indicating that they have a good familiarity of tax law. Licensed lawyers do not need to take this exam to practice before tax court.
Normally, residents of Fort Walton Beach, Florida will end up in tax court because the IRS, or another tax agency, has alleged that they have failed to pay all the taxes that they owe. In the interest of due process, the IRS will send the taxpayer a letter informing them that they owe back taxes. At this point, the taxpayer will have something like 90 days to go to Tax Court to fight these allegations, if they so desire. If you do not file a response within the allotted time, the tax bill will become final, and you will have no legal means to contest it.
Do I Need a Fort Walton Beach, Florida Tax Attorney?
As mentioned earlier, federal law lets some non-attorneys practice before U.S. Tax Courts. But tax law can be extremely intricate, and the practice of this area of law is highly specialized - so much so that most lawyers who practice tax law do not practice in any other field.
So, if you plan on going to tax court, it should go without saying that you should hire a Fort Walton Beach, Florida tax attorney. While a non-lawyer admitted to practice before tax court may well give you skilled representation, you will have much stronger recourse against a licensed attorney if they negligently botch your case.