Tax Court Lawyers in Puyallup
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 Puyallup, Washington.
U.S. Tax Courts deal with almost every legal issue that has to do with the federal tax obligations of an individual or corporation. The U.S. District Courts are the courts of "general jurisdiction" in the U.S., meaning that they can hear almost any type of civil or criminal case under their jurisdiction. This includes tax cases, but the law only authorizes them to hear such cases if the tax in question has already been paid. Tax courts can hear cases before the tax has been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Puyallup, Washington
Claims dealing with tax law can come from any dispute that has to do with one's duty to pay taxes in Puyallup, Washington. This normally happens when the state or federal tax authorities allege that someone has failed to pay their taxes, and therefore owes the government money. If the taxpayer disagrees, a tax court has to resolve the issue.
The judges who preside over U.S. Tax Courts are appointed by the President. They serve terms of 15 years. When their terms expire, the vast majority of these judges are simply re-appointed by whichever president is in office at the time, so most tax court judges effectively serve for life, or until they retire.
In the U.S., tax courts have some unique features. Most interestingly, individuals who are not licensed attorneys in Washington, or anywhere else, are, in some cases, authorized to represent clients before tax courts. Non-attorneys who practice before tax court are almost always accountants, and any non-lawyer who wants to practice before the U.S. tax court must pass a difficult written exam that tests their understanding of American tax law. Licensed attorneys, however, may practice before the tax court without taking this exam.
Most commonly, a resident of Puyallup, Washington 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 Puyallup, Washington Tax Attorney?
Although federal tax court authorizes, under some circumstances, non-lawyers to represent taxpayers, the practice of tax law is extremely complex and specialized. Many attorneys who practice tax law do not practice in 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 Puyallup, Washington. 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.