What kind of preparation goes into IRS tax litigation?

A recent article serves as an important reminder of the preparation needed to mount a strong position in a tax controversy. For starters, even a simple dispute over an entry on a Form 1040 income tax return can brew into a federal case. That, in turn, requires experience and skill in handling evidentiary and procedural court rules.

Yet by one commentator’s estimate, around 70 percent of the cases brought in U.S. Tax Court involve unrepresented taxpayers. Although pro se representation is not necessarily a recipe for failure, it may be riskier, as non-attorneys may not realize that they have overlooked available legal arguments. 

In addition to trial strategy, an attorney can provide valuable advocacy in negotiations with the IRS. Since the majority of tax disputes are resolved by settlement, an attorney can be helpful in gauging the litigation hazards and other factors that might influence the IRS’s position. 

Our law firm has helped many clients with disputes involving tax liens, levies, collections, and even criminal tax allegations. Our approach includes an evaluation of whether an early administrative settlement would be obtainable. Settling a dispute before it reaches the courtroom may save on both time and costs.

Finally, it is important to remember that IRS tax litigation is a specific area of the law. Attorneys that don’t focus on this area may lack the experience needed to successfully gauge the IRS’s position. Regardless of the forum, we can provide strong advocacy in U.S. Tax Court, U.S. District Court, and even to taxpayers in bankruptcy. 

Source: Accounting Today, “It's Really a Federal Case,” Roger Russell, Sept. 22, 2015

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