Tax Court Lawyers in Barnstable
Tax courts are legal forums meant to decide legal disputes that have to do with federal or 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, Barnstable, Massachusetts.
Federal tax court is the place to litigate all disputes arising out of tax law, if the relevant tax obligations has not already been paid. While other federal courts, such as the U.S. District Court or the Court of Federal Claims, can hear tax matters, they can only hear tax cases after the tax has been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Barnstable, Massachusetts
Tax law claims can arise out of any dispute having to do with one's legal obligation to pay their taxes in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Most often, they occur when the IRS alleges that a taxpayer has not paid all of the taxes that they owe, and the taxpayer disagrees. The court has to resolve this dispute.
U.S. Tax Court judges are appointed by the President. Their terms of office are legally set at 15 years. However, the vast majority of tax court judges are simply appointed 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, therefore, Tax Court judges effectively serve life terms.
Tax courts in the U.S. have a few unique features. Perhaps most notably, people who are not admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, or in any other jurisdiction, are allowed to represent clients in tax court. However, non-lawyers must take, and pass, a fairly difficult exam to demonstrate that they have an in-depth understanding of U.S. tax law. If someone is already a lawyer, however, they can practice before a tax court without taking this exam.
Typically, residents of Barnstable, Massachusetts 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 Barnstable, Massachusetts Tax Attorney?
As mentioned earlier, federal law lets some non-attorneys practice before U.S. Tax Courts. But tax law can be extremely complicated, 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 find yourself in a situation where you think you'll have to go to tax court, you should consult with a qualified tax lawyer in Barnstable, Massachusetts as soon as possible. Non-lawyers are allowed to represent you in tax court, and most of them are perfectly competent. However, there are significant advantages to having a lawyer represent you, as opposed to an accountant or other non-attorney. Primarily, lawyers are regulated by the bar association of whatever state they're licensed to practice in, and if a lawyer handles your case incompetently, you will have significant legal recourse against them, through both the courts and the state bar