U.S. Tax Court Litigation

There are times when the IRS just does not listen. If you fought for your position and know you are right, but the IRS does not agree, you may have the option to take your case to U.S. Tax Court. This will give you the opportunity to litigate your case to reverse the IRS determination.

What is the U.S. Tax Court?

The U.S. Tax Court is an independent judicial authority for taxpayers disputing certain IRS determinations. This includes IRS tax audit disputes, IRS refund disputes, IRS tax collection disputes, and more. It is not controlled by or connected to the Internal Revenue Service.

The United States Tax Court is a Federal Trial court. It is a court of record established by Congress under Article I of the U.S. Constitution. Because it is a court of record, a record is made of all its proceedings. It is an independent judicial forum. The Tax Court’s authority to resolve disputes is called its jurisdiction. Generally, a taxpayer may file a petition in the Tax Court in response to certain IRS determinations.

Filing a Petition with the U.S. Tax Court

If the IRS notified you that your tax return will be adjusted and you will owe additional taxes, but you do not agree with the adjustments made, the IRS will send you a letter regarding your rights to submit a petition with the U.S. Tax Court within 90 days from the date of the letter. This letter is called the Notice of Deficiency or 90 day letter. You must file your petition with the U.S. Tax Court within 90 days. At U.S. Tax Court, the taxpayer may dispute the additional taxes or deficiency in the Tax Court before paying any disputed amount.

The U.S. Tax Court’s jurisdiction also includes the authority to redetermine transferee liability, make certain types of declaratory judgments, adjust partnership items, order abatement of interest, award administrative and litigation costs, redetermine worker classification, determine relief from joint and several liability on a joint return, review certain collection actions, and review awards to whistleblowers who provide information to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on or after December 20, 2006.

U.S. Tax Court Structure

The Tax Court is composed of 19 presidentially appointed members. Trial sessions are conducted and other work of the Court is performed by those judges, by senior judges serving on recall, and by special trial judges. All of the judges have expertise in the tax laws and apply that expertise in a manner to ensure that taxpayers are assessed only what they owe, and no more. Although the U.S. Tax Court is physically located in Washington, D.C., the judges travel nationwide to conduct trials in various designated cities.

To learn more about filing a petition to start a case at the U.S. Tax Court and an explanation of the entire process, the U.S. Tax Court’s website has a very detailed step-by-step guide for individuals who represent themselves.