Tax Court Lawyers in Fairfax
Tax courts perform roughly the same function as any other court: they provide a forum to resolve legal disputes in an orderly, fair, and efficient manner. The only difference with tax courts is that they specialize in resolving disputes that have to do with tax law.
At the federal level, there is the United States Tax Court, which has courthouses all over the country, including one in or near Fairfax, Virginia.
The U.S. Tax Court is where disputes 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 ensure that as many tax issues as possible are really decided in tax court, rather than the overworked District Courts.
Tax Court Procedure in Fairfax, Virginia
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Fairfax, Virginia 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.
U.S. Tax Court judges are appointed by the President. Their terms of office are legally set at 15 years. However, the vast majority of tax court judges are simply appointed again when their terms run out, and there is no limit on the number of 15-year terms they can serve. As a practical matter, therefore, Tax Court judges effectively serve life terms.
Federal tax court is somewhat unique in that individuals who are not licensed attorneys in Virginia (or anywhere else) may represent taxpayers before the tax court, as long as they can pass an exam indicating that they have a good understanding of tax law. Licensed lawyers do not need to take this exam to practice before tax court.
Most commonly, a resident of Fairfax, Virginia 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 Fairfax, Virginia 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 need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should obtain the counsel of a good tax attorney in Fairfax, Virginia. 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.