Tax Court Lawyers in Howard County
Tax courts are legal forums meant to decide legal disputes that have to do with federal or state tax law.
Almost all legal concerns having to do with federal taxes are resolved in the U.S. Tax Court, which has at least one courthouse in every state, and various courthouses in each of the larger states. This means that there is almost certainly a tax court in, or within a reasonable distance of, Howard County, Maryland.
The United States Tax Court handles most legal disputes 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 authorizing 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 Howard County, Maryland
Tax court claims in Howard County, Maryland can arise from any tax conflict, such as when a taxpayer believes that the conclusions of a tax audit were in error, or that they do not owe as much money as the IRS claims that they do.
In the U.S., tax court judges are appointed by the President of the United States. Unlike judges on most other federal courts, who typically serve for life (or until they retire), tax court judges serve terms of 15 years. But, there is no limit to the number of terms that they are allowed to serve. If a tax court judge has been doing his or her job competently, the President will typically re-appoint them whenever their term expires, effectively giving them life tenure.
U.S. Tax Courts have one feature that's almost completely unique in the U.S.: people who are not licensed attorneys in Maryland, or anywhere else, are permitted to represent clients in Tax Court. This doesn't mean, however, that anyone can walk in off the street and start practicing tax law. Before they can practice before a tax court, non-attorneys have to take and pass a written exam that tests their knowledge of U.S. tax law. People who are already licensed to practice law, on the other hand, can practice before a tax court without taking this test.
Most frequently, when the IRS sends a Howard County, Maryland resident a "notice of deficiency," which alleges that they owe back taxes, the taxpayer has 90 days to go to tax court, and file a claim in tax court to fight this allegation. If you don't file this claim within the allotted time, you can lose your right to dispute the tax bill in question, in any forum, permanently.
Do I Need a Howard County, Maryland Tax Attorney?
Although the law lets certain non-lawyers represent parties before tax court, tax law is very intricate and often difficult to understand - to the point that almost all attorneys who practice tax law practice it exclusively, simply because maintaining competence leaves little time to learn any other area.
If you find yourself in a situation where you think you'll have to go to tax court, you should consult with a knowledgeable tax lawyer in Howard County, Maryland 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 substantial legal recourse against them, through both the courts and the state bar