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The United States Tax Court is a court of record established by Congress under Article I of the Constitution. When the Commissioner of Internal Revenue has determined a tax deficiency, the taxpayer may dispute the deficiency in the Tax Court before paying any disputed amount. The Tax Court’s jurisdiction also includes the authority to redetermine transferee liability, make certain types of declaratory judgments, adjust partnership items, order abatement of interest, award administrative and litigation costs, redetermine worker classification, determine relief from joint and several liability on a joint return, review certain collection actions, and review awards to whistleblowers who provide information to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on or after December 20, 2006.

The Tax Court is composed of 19 presidentially appointed judges. Trial sessions are conducted and other work of the Court is performed by those judges, by senior judges serving on recall, and by special trial judges. All of the judges have expertise in the tax laws and apply that expertise in a manner to ensure that taxpayers are assessed only what they owe, and no more. Although the Court is physically located in Washington, D.C., the judges travel nationwide to conduct trials in various designated cities.

A case in the Tax Court is commenced by the filing of a petition. The petition must be timely filed within the allowable time. The Court cannot extend the time for filing which is set by statute. A filing fee must be paid when the petition is filed. Once the petition is filed, payment of the underlying tax ordinarily is postponed until the case has been decided.

In certain tax disputes involving $50,000 or less, taxpayers may elect to have their case conducted under the Court's simplified small tax cases procedure. Trials in small tax cases generally are less formal and result in a speedier disposition. However, decisions entered pursuant to small tax case procedures are not appealable.

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