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.