Tax Court Lawyers in Ridgeland
A tax court is a venue that authorizes 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 Ridgeland, Mississippi.
U.S. Tax Courts deal with almost every legal issue that has to do with the federal tax obligations of an individual or corporation. The U.S. District Courts are the courts of "general jurisdiction" in the U.S., meaning that they can hear almost any type of civil or criminal case under their jurisdiction. This includes tax cases, but the law only authorizes them to hear such cases if the tax in question has already been paid. Tax courts can hear cases before the tax has been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Ridgeland, Mississippi
Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Ridgeland, Mississippi, 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 normally 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.
Federal tax courts are presided over by judges who are appointed by the President of the United States. These judges serve 15-year terms. Judges whose terms expire are routinely re-appointed by the sitting President, so most tax court judges effectively serve for life.
U.S. Tax Courts have one feature that's almost completely unique in the U.S.: people who are not licensed attorneys in Mississippi, 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.
Usually, residents of Ridgeland, Mississippi 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 Ridgeland, Mississippi 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 Ridgeland, Mississippi 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.