Tax Court Lawyers in Salem
A tax court is a venue that permits legal disputes relating to taxes to be resolved in an orderly, efficient manner.
At the federal level, there is the United States Tax Court, which has courthouses all over the country, including one in or near Salem, Missouri.
The U.S. Tax Court is where disputes arising under federal tax law are resolved, if the tax debt in question has not already been paid. The U.S. District Court, which is the federal court of general jurisdiction, can only hear tax cases after the tax has been paid. This rule is meant to ensure that as many tax issues as possible are directly decided in tax court, rather than the overworked District Courts.
Tax Court Procedure in Salem, Missouri
Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Salem, Missouri, 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 typically 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.
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 Missouri (or anywhere else) may represent taxpayers before the tax court, as long as they can pass an exam indicating that they have a good familiarity of tax law. Licensed lawyers do not need to take this exam to practice before tax court.
Most frequently, when the IRS sends a Salem, Missouri 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 Salem, Missouri 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.
So, if you need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should pursue the counsel of a good tax attorney in Salem, Missouri. 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 substantial legal recourse against them.