Tax Court Lawyers in Takoma Park
Tax courts are legal forums meant to decide legal disputes that have to do with federal or state tax law.
Almost all legal contentions having to do with federal taxes are resolved in the U.S. Tax Court, which has at least one courthouse in every state, and many courthouses in each of the larger states. This means that there is almost certainly a tax court in, or within a reasonable distance of, Takoma Park, 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 permitting 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 Takoma Park, Maryland
Tax law claims can arise out of any disagreement having to do with one's legal obligation to pay their taxes in Takoma Park, Maryland. 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.
In the U.S., tax court judges are appointed by the President of the United States. Unlike judges on most other federal courts, who normally 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 normally 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 authorized 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 commonly, a resident of Takoma Park, Maryland 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 Takoma Park, Maryland Tax Attorney?
Federal law authorizes some non-lawyers to represent parties in tax court. However, tax law is a fairly complex and specialized legal field. Most lawyers who practice tax law do not practice any other area of law, giving you an idea of how specialized it is.
So, if you plan on going to tax court, it should go without saying that you should hire a Takoma Park, Maryland tax attorney. While a non-lawyer admitted to practice before tax court may well give you qualified representation, you will have much stronger recourse against a licensed attorney if they negligently botch your case.