Tax Court Lawyers in Westlake
Tax Courts serve the same purpose as any other court: they're there to resolve legal disagreements in a fair and orderly fashion. Tax courts are simply specialized to take tax disputes.
At the federal level, there is the United States Tax Court, which has courthouses all over the country, containing one in or near Westlake, Ohio.
The U.S. Tax Court is where disagreements 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 guarantee that as many tax issues as possible are really decided in tax court, rather than the overworked District Courts.
Tax Court Procedure in Westlake, Ohio
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Westlake, Ohio 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 determine those contentions.
Federal tax courts are presided over by judges who are assigned by the President of the United States. These judges serve 15-year terms. Judges whose terms expire are consistently re-appointed by the sitting President, so most tax court judges effectively serve for life.
U.S. tax courts are distinct in that individuals who are not licensed to practice law in Ohio, or any other U.S. jurisdiction, are authorized to represent clients before tax court. Non-lawyers who want to practice before the Tax Court do have to take an exam demonstrating that they have a good understanding of tax law. Usually, non-lawyers who practice before the tax courts are experienced accountants. However, licensed attorneys can practice before tax courts without taking the special exam.
Usually, residents of Westlake, Ohio 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 Westlake, Ohio Tax Attorney?
Federal law authorizes some non-lawyers to represent people before U.S. Tax Courts. Nonetheless, the tax laws are very convoluted. In fact, most tax attorneys don't practice any other area of law.
So, if you need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should obtain the counsel of a good tax attorney in Westlake, Ohio. 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 considerable legal recourse against them.