Tax Court Lawyers in Orleans Parish
Tax courts are legal forums meant to decide legal disputes that have to do with federal or 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 Orleans Parish, Louisiana.
Tax courts in America handle the vast majority of legal issues that concern federal tax obligations of a person or other legal entity, such as a corporation. There are many procedural rules that are meant to funnel tax contentions into tax courts, without strictly requiring them to be heard there. For example, only tax courts can hear tax cases where the tax in question has not yet been paid. The courts of general jurisdiction - known as the U.S. District Court - can also hear tax cases, but they can only hear tax cases if the disputed tax bill has already been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Orleans Parish, Louisiana
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Orleans Parish, Louisiana can end up in tax court. Most commonly, a dispute ends up in tax court when the government claims that someone has not paid all of the taxes that they are legally obligated to pay. If the taxpayer disputes the factual basis of the allegation, or believes the IRS has misinterpreted the law, U.S. Tax Courts have to decide those contentions.
Federal tax courts are presided over by judges who are appointed by the President of the United States. These judges serve 15-year terms. Judges whose terms expire are routinely re-appointed by the sitting President, so most tax court judges effectively serve for life.
In the U.S., tax courts have some unique features. Most interestingly, individuals who are not licensed attorneys in Louisiana, or anywhere else, are, in some cases, authorized to represent clients before tax courts. Non-attorneys who practice before tax court are almost always accountants, and any non-lawyer who wants to practice before the U.S. tax court must pass a difficult written exam that tests their understanding of American tax law. Licensed attorneys, however, may practice before the tax court without taking this exam.
Most commonly, a resident of Orleans Parish, Louisiana will find themselves in tax court because the relevant tax authority (usually the IRS), suspects that they have not paid all of the taxes that they are required to pay. To initiate a legal action against the taxpayer, the IRS will send them a letter laying out its allegations. Once this is received, the taxpayer has a moderate period of time (about 90 days) to go to the nearest U.S. tax court and respond. If you find yourself in this position, and want to dispute the allegations against you, you MUST file a response in a tax court in a timely manner. If you don't, you can easily lose your right to ever dispute those allegations again.
Do I Need a Orleans Parish, Louisiana 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 Orleans Parish, Louisiana. 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.