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Tax Court Cases


As a tax attorney since 1976, admitted to practice before NJ State and Federal Courts, including the US Tax Court and the Court of Federal Claims, I have helped clients from around the U.S. as well as multi-national clients. Tax Court cases can be particularly challenging  because of the long delays. The advantage is you get a court and judge with tax law expertise.

After you filed a petition in Tax Court, the Court served the IRS.  The IRS Answer is due 60 days thereafter, although sometimes the government will request an extension from the Court. 

The IRS attorneys almost always file their answers at the very end of the 60 day period for the simple reason that it usually takes them that long to get possession of the file.  And then they file a very uninformative answer (sort of like a general denial) because they know very little about the case and have very little time in which to become familiar with the file.  They only thing useful you are likely to learn from the answer is the name of the attorney assigned to the case. 

The IRS attorney will usually be sending the file to Appeals immediately after the answer is filed.  The transfer process is very slow.  It may be months before you are contacted by Appeals for settlement conference scheduling.  You might consider being proactive and contacting Appeals to find out who at Appeals the case has been assigned to.  That person will want to schedule a settlement/discovery conference as late as possible.  You might want to urge some speed.  Good luck in that regard.  Both the IRS attorneys and the Appeals Officers tend to go very slowly on cases unless a trial date is pending.

If the case has not been previously reviewed by Appeals (and sometimes even if it has), Counsel will normally allow Appeals to attempt to settle the case.  If you want Appeals consideration, you should request it.

After the Answer is filed, you must make a good faith effort to exchange information informally (the Branerton conference) and stipulate to facts that will not be in dispute at trial.  Thereafter, and to the extent that the informal discovery was not provided, you may engage in formal discovery.  The Tax Court Rules regarding discovery differ significantly from the federal rules. 

Unless prodded by a motion from one of the parties (e.g. a motion for summary judgment), the Tax Court will not get involved in the process until the matter is set for trial.  The Tax Court will send a Notice of Trial about five months prior to the trial calendar in the location designated on the place of trial.  As well as setting a time for the trial of factual issues in the case, this Notice will also set many deadlines (last day for discovery, etc.).  Unless the legal issues are very simple, the court will ask the parties to address the legal issues in post-trial briefs.

Virtualex.com Ronald J. Cappuccio, J.D., LL.M.(Tax) 1800 Chapel Avenue West Suite 128 Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 Phone:(856) 665-2121      Fax: (856) 665-9005 Email: ron@taxesq.com

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