In the coming weeks and months, I will be writing a series of articles regarding the US Tax Court. But first, I want to review how a case gets to the Tax Court and the process for filing a case with the court.
First of all, to fully represent your client before the court, you have to have a US Tax Court Bar License. However, if you don’t have that license, it doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the process. For example, if you don’t have a bar license, you can file a petition and appear before the court with your client. You just can’t act on the client’s behalf.
It is important to point out that most cases filed before the Tax Court are just a means to get the case to appeals. For example, one way to get to Tax Court is to file a petition before the court when your client receives a notice of deficiency. Typically, after you file a case based on a notice of deficiency, the case will get kicked down to appeals. Another way to get to Tax Court is after an audit closes, you will receive a 90-day notice to file a petition before the court. Those requests are typically sent back to appeals. The final way to get to Tax Court is to go through an audit, go through appeals, and then file a petition before the court. Those cases will be decided by the court.
After a petition is filed before the court, the court will assess the petition and check to see if it needs to go to appeals first. If it has already been to appeals, the court will then send a notice to appear. When you appear, and before the case is heard, there is a conference where the government tries to settle the case before the court hears it. Typically, 95 percent of all cases are settled before they are heard by the court.
About Craig W. Smalley, EA
Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice since 1994. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as representation before the IRS regarding negotiations, audits, and appeals. In his many years of practice, he has been exposed to a variety of businesses and has an excellent knowledge of most industries. He is the CEO and co-founder of CWSEAPA PLLC and Tax Crisis Center LLC; both business have locations in Florida, Delaware, and Nevada. Craig is the current Google small business accounting advisor for the Google Small Business Community. He is a contributor to AccountingWEB and Accounting Today, and has had 12 books published on various topics in taxation. His articles have also been featured in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, and several other newspapers, periodicals, and magazines. He has been interviewed and been a featured guest on many radio shows and podcasts. Finally, he is the co-host of Tax Avoidance is Legal, which is a nationally broadcast weekly Internet radio show.