Tax Court Lawyers in Martinsville
Tax courts execute roughly the same function as any other court: they present a forum to resolve legal disputes in an orderly, fair, and efficient manner. The only difference with tax courts is that they specialize in solving disagreements 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, containing one in or near Martinsville, Virginia.
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 Martinsville, Virginia
Any legal issue that concerns federal taxes in Martinsville, Virginia, or anywhere else in the U.S., can go to tax court. It's most often the case that the IRS initiates legal action against a taxpayer, alleging that they have failed to pay all of their obligated taxes, or are delinquent in some other way. The taxpayer normally has 90 days to respond, which initiates adversarial tax court proceedings. Failing to respond may result in the taxpayer forfeiting their rights to contest the allegations against them.
U.S. Tax Court judges are assigned by the President. Their terms of office are legally set at 15 years. Nonetheless, the vast majority of tax court judges are simply assigned 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, thus, Tax Court judges effectively serve life terms.
U.S. tax courts are distinct in that individuals who are not licensed to practice law in Virginia, 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.
Most commonly, a resident of Martinsville, 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 Martinsville, Virginia Tax Attorney?
As mentioned earlier, federal law lets some non-attorneys practice before U.S. Tax Courts. But tax law can be extremely complex, and the practice of this area of law is highly specialized - so much so that most lawyers who practice tax law do not practice in any other field.
If you have to go to tax court for whatever reason, you should almost certainly speak with a seasoned tax attorney in Martinsville, Virginia. 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.