Appealing a Tax Court Decision
It's an unfortunate fact, but taxpayers lose most of the cases that are tried in the United States Tax Court. However, the percentage of taxpayers who prevail in the Tax Court is much higher for those who are represented by a tax attorney. According to a 2014 report by the Taxpayer Advocate to Congress, taxpayers who are represented are over 2.5 times more likely to prevail in whole or in part than those who represent themselves! The Tax Court is not the last stop on the trail for the determined taxpayer who wants to continue to fight the IRS. Very few tax attorneys have significant experience appearing in the Tax Court and even fewer have experience in filing appeals from losing cases in the Tax Court. Our tax lawyers have the necessary background to handle either a Tax Court trial or an appeal. Some of the questions you will need answers to before filing an appeal are:
Can I Appeal My Tax Court Case?
Generally speaking, all Tax Court cases are appealable. However, there is a very big exception. If you elected to file your Tax Court petition as a "small tax case" then you will not be able to appeal the Tax Court's decision. That is one glaring reason why you may not want your tax case to be hears as a "small tax case." However, if you already have a decision from the Tax Court, it's probably too late to change your mind.
Where Do I Appeal My Tax Court Case?
Tax Court cases are appealed to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the state in which you reside at the time you filed your Tax Court petition. So for example, if you live in the states of California, Hawaii, Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, or Nevada your case will be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. If you live in the states of New York, Connecticut, or Vermont your appeal will be heard by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. This holds true even if you've moved after you filed your Tax Court petition. Our tax litigation attorneys are admitted to practice before several different Circuit Courts of Appeal including the 9th Circuit, the 2nd Circuit, the 6th Circuit, and the 11th Circuit. This covers 18 states and approximately 149 million people. Even if our tax litigation attorneys aren't currently admitted in your Circuit we can still file an appeal on your behalf.
How Long Do I have to Appeal My Tax Court Case?
You will need to file a Notice of Appeal within 90 days of the date that the Tax Court entered its decision. That deadline is set forth in Internal Revenue Code Section 7483. Keep in mind that the opinion and the decision are two different documents, and in many cases, they have different dates. Make sure you are counting from the right date. If you win on some issues and lose on others, it is the IRS who may appeal. If the IRS appeals then you will have 120 days to file your appeal.
What is the Cost to Appeal My Tax Court Decision?
As of mid-2017, the filing fee for a Notice of Appeal was $505. Legal fees to hire a tax litigation attorney will vary depending upon the complexity of your case.
Will Filing an Appeal of My Tax Court Decision Prevent the IRS From Collecting the Taxes Due?
Unfortunately not. Internal Revenue Code Section 7485 requires that in addition to filing a Notice of Appeal, a taxpayer who wishes to avoid payment of the amount determined to be due by the Tax Court must post a bond. The Tax Court will determine the amount of the bond that must be posted, but it can't exceed double the amount of the tax deficiency. In our experience, the cost of a surety bond is substantial and most taxpayers will want to pay the tax now while they wait for their refund. If you can't pay the tax in full, our tax controversy attorneys can negotiate an installment payment agreement for you.
If you have a tax problem, the earlier in the process you call us, the more likely we can successfully resolve your case. But no matter what stage you are at, give us a call, and we will use our 100 plus years of combined tax experience to fight for you.