Tax Court Lawyers in Tampa
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 issues having to do with federal taxes are resolved in the U.S. Tax Court, which has at least one courthouse in every state, and several courthouses in each of the larger states. This means that there is almost certainly a tax court in, or within a reasonable distance of, Tampa, Florida.
The United States Tax Court handles most legal disagreements that have to deal with federal, as opposed to state, taxes. These are not courts of "general jurisdiction" (courts that hear the vast majority of civil and criminal cases). Tax courts are able to hear cases where the tax bill in dispute has not yet been paid (effectively allowing a court to rule on the validity of a tax bill before the taxpayer pays it). The courts of general jurisdiction in the U.S. (called the U.S. District Courts) can only hear tax cases if the tax bill has already been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Tampa, Florida
Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Tampa, 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 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.
The judges who preside over U.S. Tax Courts are assigned by the President. They serve terms of 15 years. When their terms expire, the vast majority of these judges are just re-appointed by whichever president is in office at the time, so most tax court judges effectively serve for life, or until they retire.
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 knowledge of tax law. Licensed lawyers do not need to take this exam to practice before tax court.
Typically, residents of Tampa, 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 Tampa, Florida Tax Attorney?
Federal law allows some non-lawyers to represent parties in tax court. However, tax law is a fairly complicated and specialized legal field. Most lawyers who practice tax law do not practice any other area of law, giving you an idea of how specialized it is.
So, if you plan on going to tax court, it should go without saying that you should hire a Tampa, Florida tax attorney. While a non-lawyer admitted to practice before tax court may well give you competent representation, you will have much stronger recourse against a licensed attorney if they negligently botch your case.