sue the IRS in court

Can I Sue the IRS in Court?


Most times we believe that we are at the mercy of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Invariably, the IRS is viewed as this highly bureaucratic entity, often characterized as soulless, with a frightening power to do a deep dive into your personal finances.  

Without question, the IRS does have significant authority and resources to interfere with your life if it believes that you have not paid sufficient taxes. However, individual taxpayers do have a recourse. They can fight back if that is what is called for.

Yes, You Are Able to Sue the IRS in Court

If you believe that the IRS has unfairly charged you with a penalty or fine, has wrongfully denied a tax deduction, or otherwise violated the tax law to your disadvantage, you have the ability to sue the IRS in court. Suing the IRS, however, is not a decision to be taken lightly. It should never be for frivolous reasons, and it should always be done in consultation with a qualified tax attorney. That said, it may be the right option if you feel that you have been treated unjustly.

Accordingly, in this blog, we will discuss the process of tax litigation. If, after reading this blog, you have additional questions about any tax issues, or if you are getting correspondence from the IRS with regard to taxes that you owe from prior years, we welcome you to call the tax defense attorney in Florida who is ready to help you – Mary King.  

The Law Office of Mary King, P.L. provides complete IRS problem-solving services including all areas from tax debt settlement to planning the most efficient tax strategy for individuals and businesses. Call today at 941-906-7585, or fill out our contact form.  

What Will Prompt a Lawsuit Against the IRS?

Did you know that every single year, the IRS is sued by hundreds of taxpayers? It is true. While the IRS’s power often sends a chill down our spine, it is not infallible. Thus, to rectify any errors that the IRS makes to your disadvantage, there is a litigation process by which an individual taxpayer, and businesses, can see redress. 

There must be a valid reason to sue the IRS with regard to a tax dispute. Importantly, you cannot sue the IRS if you believe that you might have a tax issue some time in the future. Rather, a lawsuit against the IRS requires an actual injury. That means that improper taxes have already been levied against you, and you have not actually been injured until you have paid the unfair tax.  

That injury rule, of course, is not very helpful because it means that you have to pay a tax you believe is unfair and then work to claw it back. In response to that concern, Congress created the United States Tax Court. In that court, you do not need to actually pay a tax before suing. You can sue based on just having the IRS make an official determination that you owe an amount that you do not believe you owe.

Yet, before you get to court, you need to go through the IRS’s appeals process. Here is how that works.

Step 1 – Get a Final Determination on Tax Liability

You do not know you have suffered any injury, for tax purposes, until the IRS has levied a tax against you that you believe is improper. Thus, if you are “under examination” by the IRS, then a final determination has not yet been made.

When you are under examination, the IRS will likely ask you for documentation to support your tax return. Be sure to keep that back-and-forth with the IRS for future use if you do end up going to court.  

Once the IRS has completed its examination, it will send you a Notice of Proposed Adjustments, or NOPA, letter.  Within 30 days of receiving that NOPA letter you can either agree with the IRS’s determination, or you can appeal.  

If you choose to appeal, then your case will be referred to an appeal officer, who is different from the person who initially examined the taxes in your case. At the close of the appeals process (or if you choose not to appeal in the first instance) then you will receive a Statutory Notice of Deficiency. That notices is normally called a “90-day Notice” because you have 90 days within which a taxpayer needs to respond to the notice.

Overall, however, the 90-day notice is the IRS’s final determination.

Step 2 – Move the Case to Court if You Wish

Once you have received the final determination from the IRS, you now have a solid decision that you can bring to court if you disagree with it.  

The next thing to consider is in which court to bring your tax case. There are three main courts from which to choose:  

1. United States Tax Court
2. United States Court of Federal Claims
3. The United States District Court in your local jurisidicton.

There are a number of pros and cons that go into which court to choose, and that will be the subject of another blog. But, to give a brief overview, the benefit of United States Tax Court is that you do not need to pay the tax amount in dispute before filing a case in court. With the other courts listed above, you need to pay the amount in dispute first, before suing.

The major disadvantage to United States Tax Court, however, is that because most individual’s tax cases go there, the judges in the court tend to be less friendly to individual taxpayer litigants. They are the judges, in short, who have “seen it all” regarding tax matters.  


In sum, you do have the power to challenge a tax assessed by the IRS. Yet, there is a process that you must follow before getting your day in court. No matter what your path is, however, it is highly recommended that you get the help of an experienced tax defense attorney in Florida.     

IRS Troubles Means that You Need a Seasoned Tax Defense Attorney in Florida 

Being accused of a tax violation is a serious matter that requires representation from an IRS tax defense attorney in Florida. Whether the issue is civil or criminal, there are a host of benefits that flow from getting the sound advice and benefitting from the experience and resources of an attorney who has confronted the IRS in many cases, on many occasions.

Indeed, the U.S. tax code is complex and is not something easily navigated by a person who does not have legal training.  

The Law Office of Mary King P.L., an experienced IRS tax defense attorney in Florida, offers complete IRS problem solving services including all areas from tax implications of alimony to planning the most efficient tax strategy for individuals and businesses. Call our tax attorneys in Florida today to schedule an initial consultation. With years of experience, the Law Office of Mary E. King can make sure that your tax issues are resolved in your favor. Fill out our online contact form, or call us at 941-906-7585.

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