Tax Court Lawyers in Petersburg
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 Petersburg, Virginia.
The United States Tax Court handles most legal disputes that have to deal with federal, as opposed to state, taxes. These are not courts of "general jurisdiction" (courts that hear the vast majority of civil and criminal cases). Tax courts are able to hear cases where the tax bill in dispute has not yet been paid (effectively permitting a court to rule on the validity of a tax bill before the taxpayer pays it). The courts of general jurisdiction in the U.S. (called the U.S. District Courts) can only hear tax cases if the tax bill has already been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Petersburg, Virginia
Tax law claims can arise out of any disagreement having to do with one's legal obligation to pay their taxes in Petersburg, Virginia. 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.
Federal tax courts are presided over by judges who are appointed by the President of the United States. These judges serve 15-year terms. Judges whose terms expire are routinely re-appointed by the sitting President, so most tax court judges effectively serve for life.
Tax courts in the U.S. have a few unique features. Perhaps most notably, people who are not admitted to practice law in Virginia, or in any other jurisdiction, are authorized to represent clients in tax court. However, non-lawyers must take, and pass, a fairly difficult 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 Petersburg, Virginia 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 Petersburg, Virginia Tax Attorney?
Although the law lets certain non-lawyers represent parties before tax court, tax law is very complicated and often difficult 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.
So, if you need to go to tax court, for whatever reason, you should obtain the counsel of a good tax attorney in Petersburg, 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.