Tax Court Lawyers in Topsfield
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, Topsfield, 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 Topsfield, Massachusetts
Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Topsfield, Massachusetts, 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 required 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.
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.
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.
Most often, a resident of Topsfield, Massachusetts 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 Topsfield, 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 are going to tax court, it should be obvious by now that you should seek the advice and assistance of a good Topsfield, Massachusetts 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.