United States Tax Court -- A federal judicial body, dating from 1924, which allows tax disputes to be decided before the payment of the tax in question is required.
Docket Number -- This is the specific number assigned to each and every case in the Tax Court. It should appear on the top of all documents pertaining to the Tax Court case.
Internal Revenue Code -- The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) sets forth the tax law of the united states. Tax Court cases generally involve a failure to adhere to the requirements of sections of the IRC. The IRC is available online.
Petitioner -- The taxpayer is called the "petitioner" in Tax Court. The petitioner is one of the "Parties" in the Tax court case.
Respondent -- The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service is called the "respondent" in Tax Court. The respondent is the other "party" in the Tax Court case.
Burden of Proof -- In Tax Court, the petitioner generally has to prove that the tax return was filed correctly according to the law and the facts. This must be done with evidence. If the petitioner does not prove that the tax return was correctly filed, the petitioner will most likely lose the case and will owe the tax as determined by the irs.
Evidence -- This is the information that each party will use to try to prove their case. Evidence can be testimony by the petitioner or other witnesses, documents, or any other items that will support the party's arguments.
The United States Tax Court is the main court in which federal tax disputes are tried. The primary benefit of the Tax Court, as opposed to other courts which also try tax matters, is there is no requirement to pay the tax before the final amount due is determined. Although the Tax Court's main offices are in Washington, D.C., the Court travels to many cities around the United States for the convenience of taxpayers. About five months prior to the Court's arrival in a city, the Court issues a "Notice Setting Case for Trial" in each case scheduled for trial during the one-week or two-week trial "calendar." The first day of the calendar is the "calendar call." Each party in a case which has not settled prior to the calendar call must "appear" at the calendar call to discuss the case. At the end of the calendar call the Court will set a time for trial during the trial calendar.
There are two parties or sides to a Tax Court case: the "petitioner" and the "respondent". The petitioner is the taxpayer and can be a individual person or a corporation. The respondent is the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service who generally will be represented in court by an attorney in the local IRS Office of Chief Counsel. Many petitioners come to Tax Court with their own attorney to represent them. In even more cases, however, the petitioners appear "pro se." That means they represent themselves. The purpose of the Tax Court Pro Se Program -- Los Angeles, is to help petitioners represent themselves in Tax Court without the use of an attorney. This is done for free as a service to the public. Our services are described in more detail on other pages.