Tax Court Lawyers in West Columbia
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.
Federal tax issues are overseen by the United States Tax Court, which has branches all over the U.S. So, the U.S. Tax Court almost certainly has a courthouse in or around West Columbia, South Carolina.
Federal tax court is the place to litigate all disagreements arising out of tax law, if the relevant tax commitments 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 West Columbia, South Carolina
Tax law claims can arise out of any disagreement having to do with one's legal requirement to pay their taxes in West Columbia, South Carolina. Most often, they occur when the IRS alleges that a taxpayer has not paid all of the taxes that they owe, and the taxpayer disagrees. The court has to resolve this dispute.
In the U.S., tax court judges are assigned by the President of the United States. Unlike judges on most other federal courts, who normally 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 permitted to serve. If a tax court judge has been doing his or her job competently, the President will normally re-appoint them whenever their term expires, effectively giving them life tenure.
Tax courts in the U.S. have a few distinct features. Perhaps most notably, people who are not admitted to practice law in South Carolina, or in any other jurisdiction, are authorized to represent clients in tax court. However, non-lawyers must take, and pass, a fairly challenging exam to demonstrate that they have an in-depth understanding of U.S. tax law. If someone is already a lawyer, however, they can practice before a tax court without taking this exam.
Most commonly, when the IRS sends a West Columbia, South Carolina 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 West Columbia, South Carolina Tax Attorney?
Although the law lets certain non-lawyers represent parties before tax court, tax law is very complicated and often challenging 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.
If you find yourself in a situation where you think you'll have to go to tax court, you should consult with a reliable tax lawyer in West Columbia, South Carolina as soon as possible. Non-lawyers are allowed to represent you in tax court, and most of them are perfectly competent. However, there are significant advantages to having a lawyer represent you, as opposed to an accountant or other non-attorney. Primarily, lawyers are regulated by the bar association of whatever state they're licensed to practice in, and if a lawyer handles your case incompetently, you will have considerable legal recourse against them, through both the courts and the state bar