Tax Court Lawyers in Lackawanna County
Tax Courts serve the same purpose as any other court: they're there to resolve legal disputes in a fair and orderly fashion. Tax courts are simply specialized to oversee tax disputes.
At the national level, we have the United States Tax Court, which has locations all over the country. This means that there is an U.S. tax court in or near Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.
Federal tax court is the place to litigate all disputes arising out of tax law, if the relevant tax obligations has not already been paid. While other federal courts, such as the U.S. District Court or the Court of Federal Claims, can hear tax matters, they can only hear tax cases after the tax has been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania can end up in tax court. Most frequently, 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 concerns.
In the U.S., tax court judges are appointed by the President of the United States. Unlike judges on most other federal courts, who typically 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 typically re-appoint them whenever their term expires, effectively giving them life tenure.
Federal tax court is somewhat unique in that individuals who are not licensed attorneys in Pennsylvania (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, a resident of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania 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 Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Tax Attorney?
Federal law permits some non-lawyers to represent parties in tax court. However, tax law is a fairly intricate 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 need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should pursue the counsel of a good tax attorney in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. 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.