In our last blog, we answered the question: Can I sue the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? In case you did not get to our previous blog, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” If you feel that the IRS has made an error in the taxes it assessed against you, or if you otherwise feel unfairly treated in the IRS’s enforcement of the tax laws, you do you have the option to ask for relief.
You cannot, however, go straight to court in most cases. Rather, you need to air your grievance with the IRS through the IRS’s own administrative appeal process before going to court. Having covered the IRS’s administrative process in our previous blog, we will spend time in this blog discussing the choice of courts available to you once you have completed the IRS’s appeal process.
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. is an IRS problem-solving services firm in Florida, and we provide services in 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.
More Than One Court to Bring a Tax Lawsuit
Once you have received the final determination from the IRS on the taxes you owe – typically, that final determination will come in the form of a “90-day letter” – then you need to decide how you wish to proceed in court.
There are actually not one, but three, different courts in which you can bring a lawsuit against the IRS. Those three courts are:
1. The United States Tax Court;
2. The United States Court of Federal Claims; and
3. The United States District Court in your jurisdiction where you live.
Now, you might think that the U.S. Tax Court is the most obvious place in which to bring your lawsuit. The word “Tax” is in the title, right? Not so fast. There are actually advantages and disadvantages to each court, which we will discuss here.
The United States Tax Court
There is one big plus to bringing your case in United States Tax Court. That plus is that you do not have to pay the taxes the IRS says you owe before the case begins. That benefit does not exist in the other courts.
That said, there is also one big minus that should give you pause before deciding to sue IRS in United States Tax Court. That minus is the fact that the Tax Court judges see many, many individual tax lawsuits in the course of a year, many of them frivolous. Accordingly, those judges could be the most critical of individual taxpayers and are the most difficult to persuade to your side.
There is some irony that even though the United States Tax Court is the court most often chosen by taxpayers, most likely because of its “sue-first-pay-later” option, it is the least favorable court for taxpayers.
To sue in the United States Tax Court, you need to initiate your lawsuit within 90 days of receiving the Statutory Notice of Deficiency from the IRS. That 90-day rule is strictly enforced, so be sure not to sit on your rights.
Finally, the United States Tax Court does not allow a trial by jury. So, if your case is in the Tax Court, you will have what is called a “bench trial,” whereby the judge in your case serves as the finder of fact as well as the final word on the law.
The United States Court of Federal Claims
Based on our litigation experience that the best court for tax lawsuits has typically been the United States Court of Federal Claims. That said, every case is different and each case is decided based on its own specific facts.
As noted, you need to pay the tax the IRS says you owe to be able to file your tax lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims. Once you have paid the tax in full, you then can file your lawsuit.
It is important to note that, just as a matter of form, the Court of Federal Claims does not identify the IRS, or the Commissioner of the IRS, as a party in a taxpayer lawsuit. Rather, the United States is the named party on behalf of the IRS. So, do not be alarmed when you see the caption of your case as “[your name] vs. The United States.”
Similar to the United States Tax Court, you cannot get a jury trial in the Court of Federal Claims. Rather, you will also have a bench trial.
The United States District Court
The process in the United States District Court in your jurisdiction is very similar to a case before the United States Court of Federal Claims. The big difference, however, is that you get to have a trial by jury.
If all of this information on the choice of court is making you feel overwhelmed, not to worry. The best advice is that you seek the services of an experienced tax attorney to help you with the process. Your attorney will work with you to understand your case, and he or she will be able to give you solid advice on which court would be the best forum for your particular case.
We Are The IRS Problem-Solving services firm 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 problem-solving services firm in Florida, offers complete services including all areas from tax implications of alimony to planning the most efficient tax strategy for individuals and businesses. Call our IRS problem-solving services firm 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.