Important Deadlines and Events Before Trial...
Pre-Trial -- Events occurring before the trial of a case which help to simplify and clarify the legal and factual issues before the Tax Court.
Appeals Conference -- About 3 or 4 months after the Tax Court petition is filed, the taxpayer should receive a letter from the IRS Appeals Office proposing a conference. This is the best opportunity to settle the case. Every effort should be made to prepare for and attend the Appeals conference. The Appeals Office will want to settle the case quickly or else send the case on to Chief Counsel's office to prepare for trial.
Notice Setting Case for Trial -- The Tax Court issues this notice 5 months before the trial calendar date. It sets forth the time and place of the trial calendar and gives other important information. Read it carefully.
Branerton Letter -- The Tax Court expects the parties to meet and informally exchange information before making formal discovery requests. This requirement was established by the Tax Court in a case called Branerton v. Commissioner. Chief Counsel will issue a Branerton letter to propose this initial conference.
Discovery Cutoff -- Formal discovery (requests for documents, written answers or admissions) must generally be mailed to the other party at least 80 days before the trial calendar date.
Stipulation of Facts Conference -- The Tax Court expects the parties to stipulate (agree in writing) to all facts and documents that are not reasonably in dispute. Chief Counsel will propose a conference for this purpose. The taxpayer should bring all documents that support their case to this conference.
Pretrial Memo and Document Exchange -- The pre-trial memo is due at least 14 days before the trial calendar date. The format for the pre-trial memo is enclosed with the "Notice Setting Case for Trial". All documents that a party plans to use in Tax Court must be given to the opposing party at this time. If documents are not exchanged at this time, they may be excluded from the Tax Court trial.