What to Expect in U.S. Tax Court

Reasons to Take Your Matter Before the United States Tax Court:

  • You’ve recently undergone an audit or examination.
  • You have taken the proper administrative steps to argue your case but still receive a notice of deficiency or notice of determination that you believe is wrong.
  • You have undergone a collection due process hearing and disagree that the appeals officer took all the appropriate steps and considered all your evidence.



A case is started in U.S. Tax Court by filing a Petition.  Things to keep in mind when filing a petition:

  • There are final statutory deadlines for when the Petition must be filed by, so it is important to get your Petition in on time.
  • A taxpayer can choose to file the petition themselves, to seek help at a tax clinic, or to hire a private attorney to represent them.
  • The Petition must set forth the errors you believe the IRS made and include a brief description of why you believe these are errors.
  • The Petition must also be signed and include the taxpayers’ name, address and phone number.
  • The Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure should be consulted to make sure you have all of the required information in your petition.
  • If you are filing a joint petition with a spouse, their information must also be included, and the spouse should sign the petition.
  • The petition must be filed with the Tax Court in Washington DC.
  • A statement of taxpayer ID and a designation of place of trial should be filed in conjunction with the petition.
  • A taxpayer should also remember to pay the appropriate fee when filing their petition and include a copy of their notice of deficiency or notice of determination.
  • Timeliness can be determined by referring to Internal Revenue Code Sections 6213 and 7502.
  • There are no extensions for filing the petition.


If a taxpayer still has questions about the petition, they should meet with an attorney or feel free to refer the United States Tax Court’s website.

Next Steps

After the petition is filed

  • The petitioner or taxpayer will receive an acknowledgment of filing from the Court which is a Notice of Receipt of Petition.
  • Your case will also be assigned a docket number.
  • An Answer will be filed by the IRS in response to your petition. The answer will provide the name and address of the IRS attorney assigned to the case.
  • You typically have 45 days to reply to the answer if a reply is necessary.


Thereafter, if the taxpayer would like to request the court to take a particular action, a motion will need to be filed.  The more complex the tax issue is, the more difficult it becomes to know what actions are most appropriate to take.

I strongly encourage you to see the advice of a tax lawyer who is authorized to practice before the U.S. Tax Court if you have any questions or concerns about your case.

Looking for a tax attorney in Blackhawk, Danville, Walnut Creek, the greater East Bay or Sacramento?

Get in touch with Christina Weed, your trusted, experienced estate-planning attorney today!

Christina Weed has worked with clients in San Francisco, the Walnut Creek & Oakland East Bay, and throughout the United States. As a licensed attorney with an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy, Christina offers a unique combined focus on Trusts & EstatesTax LawTax Litigation, and Business Law to help develop a solution to your unique situation.

Disclaimer: The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

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