Recently, I attended the American Association Attorney-Certified Public Accountants (AAA-CPA) symposium at the United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C. I heard U.S. Tax Court Chief Judge Michael B. Thornton discuss court operations in the context of assisting taxpayers "get their day in court." Chief Judge Thornton stressed that the Tax Court is considered a "people's court" and the operations of the court strive to be user-friendly for taxpayers.
A few facts about the U.S. Tax Court:
1. A tax case can be filed in the U.S. Tax court without the taxpayer paying the contested tax PRIOR to the proposed Tax Court hearing.
2. Most cases filed in the U.S. Tax Court are filed by a taxypayer, without attorney representation.
3. Tax cases must be filed within the deadline set forth in the Internal Revenue Service's "90-day letter" or failure to meet this deadline results in cases being denied for lack of jurisdiction; the Tax Court cannot even hear the case once the deadlline is missed.
4. Although the U.S. Tax Court is based in Washington, D.C., Tax Court judges ride circuit through major cities such as Houston.
As an estate planning attorney and a tax attorney, I enjoy assisting taxpayers in bringing cases before the U.S. Tax Court and I believe that the favorable aspect of Tax Court cases is that the payer DOES NOT have to pay the contested tax bill prior to the Tax Court hearing.
For additional information about estate planning and tax issues in Houston, please click here to visit my website.