Tax Court Lawyers in Durham
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 Durham, North Carolina.
Tax courts in America handle the vast majority of legal issues that concern federal tax obligations of a person or other legal entity, such as a corporation. There are many procedural rules that are meant to funnel tax contentions into tax courts, without strictly requiring them to be heard there. For example, only tax courts can hear tax cases where the tax in question has not yet been paid. The courts of general jurisdiction - known as the U.S. District Court - can also hear tax cases, but they can only hear tax cases if the disputed tax bill has already been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Durham, North Carolina
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Durham, North Carolina can end up in tax court. Most commonly, a dispute ends up in tax court when the government claims that someone has not paid all of the taxes that they are legally obligated to pay. If the taxpayer disputes the factual basis of the allegation, or believes the IRS has misinterpreted the law, U.S. Tax Courts have to decide those contentions.
The judges who preside over U.S. Tax Courts are appointed by the President. They serve terms of 15 years. When their terms expire, the vast majority of these judges are simply re-appointed by whichever president is in office at the time, so most tax court judges effectively serve for life, or until they retire.
In the U.S., tax courts have some unique features. Most interestingly, individuals who are not licensed attorneys in North Carolina, or anywhere else, are, in some cases, authorized to represent clients before tax courts. Non-attorneys who practice before tax court are almost always accountants, and any non-lawyer who wants to practice before the U.S. tax court must pass a difficult written exam that tests their understanding of American tax law. Licensed attorneys, however, may practice before the tax court without taking this exam.
Normally, a Durham, North Carolina resident will end up in tax court because the IRS has determined that they have not paid all of the taxes that they owe, and has sent them a notice indicating as much. When this happens, the taxpayer has 90 days to file a claim in Tax Court contesting the IRS's allegations. If you believe that the allegations against you are untrue, and wish to fight them, it's essential that you file a claim in tax court within the allotted time period. Otherwise, you could lose your right to challenge that tax bill permanently.
Do I Need a Durham, North Carolina Tax Attorney?
Although federal tax court authorizes, under some circumstances, non-lawyers to represent taxpayers, the practice of tax law is extremely complex and specialized. Many attorneys who practice tax law do not practice in any other area.
If you have to go to tax court for whatever reason, you should almost certainly speak with a brilliant tax attorney in Durham, North Carolina. Even though some non-lawyers are technically permitted to represent you in tax court, there are distinct advantages to hiring a lawyer, even if a non-attorney can provide you with competent representation. The main advantage is the fact that all attorneys are tightly regulated by their state bar associations, and if they botch your case, you may have more legal recourse against an attorney than you would against a non-attorney.