Tax Court Lawyers in Pontiac
Tax courts are legal forums meant to determine legal disputes that have to do with federal or state tax law.
At the federal level, there is the United States Tax Court, which has courthouses all over the country, containing one in or near Pontiac, Illinois.
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 permitting 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 Pontiac, Illinois
Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Pontiac, Illinois, 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 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.
Tax courts in the United States are presided over by judges who are assigned by the President. Unlike most other federal judges, who serve for life, judges on the U.S. Tax Court serve 15 year terms. Nonetheless, they can serve an endless number of these terms, and if they do their jobs competently, they are almost always re-appointed when their terms are up, meaning that the vast majority of them effectively serve for life.
U.S. tax courts are distinct in that individuals who are not licensed to practice law in Illinois, or any other U.S. jurisdiction, are authorized to represent clients before tax court. Non-lawyers who want to practice before the Tax Court do have to take an exam demonstrating that they have a good understanding of tax law. Usually, non-lawyers who practice before the tax courts are experienced accountants. However, licensed attorneys can practice before tax courts without taking the special exam.
Usually, when the IRS sends a taxpayer in Pontiac, Illinois 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.
Do I Need a Pontiac, Illinois Tax Attorney?
As mentioned earlier, federal law lets some non-attorneys practice before U.S. Tax Courts. But tax law can be extremely complex, 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.
If you are going to tax court, it should be apparent by now that you should seek the advice and assistance of a good Pontiac, Illinois tax lawyer. This is not a knock against the non-lawyers who are licensed to practice before tax court; the vast majority of them are perfectly competent. However, if a licensed attorney seriously mishandles your case, you will have a great deal of legal recourse against them, more so than with a non-attorney.