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A quick primer on the U.S. Tax Court

The U.S. Tax Court is a unique institution. Typically, a taxpayer gets to the Tax Court after responding properly within 90 days to an IRS-issued Notice of Deficiency (a.k.a. the “90-day letter” or “ticket to Tax Court”). The Tax Court is a travelling court, and it visits 46 states plus the District of Columbia. Unlike most courts, the location of a Tax Court trial is not predetermined based on the taxpayer’s home address or place of business, and the taxpayer can actually choose his or her trial location. About five months before trial, the taxpayer will receive a trial schedule and the Tax Court’s standing pretrial order. This order requires the parties to communicate, exchange documents, stipulate to as many documents and facts as possible, and file pretrial memoranda within stated deadlines. On the first day of the Tax Court’s trial period (which typically lasts one week in any given city), the Court will hold a calendar call and schedule trials for all of the cases that didn’t resolve themselves during the pretrial period. Because of the parties’ prior stipulations, trials in Tax Court can be very short. The Tax Court judges can issue bench opinions anytime during the trial session; otherwise, opinions are issued within about one year’s time, although some complicated cases can take longer than that.

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The information provided on this site is not legal advice, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site.

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