Tax Courts

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I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t turn the nose up at the thought of paying taxes. As we write out our checks to the taxman, it’s easy to feel a little frustrated. Taxes are just one of those necessary evils that we collectively love to hate. However, there are instances, when there is a need to fight against amount charged for taxes, or the penalties incurred for non-payment. For these types of situations, the United State federal government and many individual states provide Tax Courts.

State Tax Courts deal strictly with state and local tax issues, while the federal tax court, called US Tax Court deals primarily with federal income tax issues. The US Tax Court is an avenue by which individuals can make disputes as to the taxes owed, before the IRS makes a formal assessment.

For state Tax Courts, the most common types of cases heard in a Tax Court include some sort of an appeal from a tax related decision made by another agency such as the state or federal Department of Revenue or a county assessor. The types of cases heard by the Tax Courts typically include cases involving the tax laws including personal income tax, property tax, and corporate excise tax. So, if you received a tax assessment that you feel was unfair, a Tax Court could be the right venue for you to address these concerns.

Not every state has tax courts, and in some states, Tax Courts could be a fairly new addition to the court system. For example, in states such as Arizona and Indiana, tax courts were only established within the last 20 to 30 years. However, in states where a Tax Court exists, that court will have exclusive jurisdiction over tax related cases. Exclusive jurisdiction means that only that court has the authority to handle a particular case. This can actually be a benefit, because it means that the judges and any other court personnel are specifically equipped to deal with tax matters, and the court process could be much shorter than with a traditional court.

Furthermore, depending on the state, Tax Courts may have different functionality. The exact types of appeals and tax related matters handled could vary. In Oregon, the Tax Court is actually separated into two division, a Magistrate Division, and a Regular Division. A first appeal goes to the Magistrate Division, and if you are unhappy with that decision, then a second appeal will go to the Regular Division. Also, while in some states, a Tax Court is a part of the trial court system, in other states, such as Maryland, the Tax Court actually operates as an administrative agency.

To learn more about tax laws, or to find out whether your state has a Tax Court, visit On this site, you will find online search resources for state laws as well as an explanation of the trial court system in each state.

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