Tax Court Lawyers in Cambridge
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, Cambridge, 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 Cambridge, Massachusetts
Tax law claims can arise out of any dispute having to do with one's legal obligation to pay their taxes in Cambridge, 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.
Tax courts in the United States are presided over by judges who are appointed by the President. Unlike most other federal judges, who serve for life, judges on the U.S. Tax Court serve 15 year terms. However, they can serve an unlimited 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.
Federal tax court is somewhat unique in that individuals who are not licensed attorneys in Massachusetts (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 Cambridge, 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 Cambridge, Massachusetts Tax Attorney?
Federal law allows some non-lawyers to represent people before U.S. Tax Courts. However, the tax laws are very convoluted. In fact, most tax attorneys don't practice any other area of law.
So, if you need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should seek the counsel of a good tax attorney in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 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 significant legal recourse against them.