Income Tax Law Fundamentals - Secondary Authority & Research Sources

Secondary
Most tax discrepancies can be resolved between the taxpayer (or their representative) and the auditing agent working for the local IRS division. However, tax issues that cannot be resolved between the IRS and the taxpayer may be taken to the federal courts for resolution.

Three Courts to the Federal Judicial System:


1) U.S. Tax Court
  • Tax cases only
  • Nineteen judges nationwide
  • Jury trial is not available
  • Tax liability is paid only if there's an adverse judgment
  • No appeal for the small cases division

2) U.S. District Court

  • Tax and non-tax issues
  • One judge per court location
  • Jury trial is available
  • Taxpayer must first pay deficiency and then sue for refund

3) U.S. Court of Federal Claims

  • Monetary claims against the U.S.
  • Sixteen judges nationwide
  • Jury trial is not available
  • Taxpayer must first pay deficiency and then sue for refund

If the tax issue was not resolved to satisfaction in one of the above courts, then the taxpayer may have the right of appeal. This can be done in the Washington DC Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit or at one of the eleven Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Research Sources
There are several sources that can be utilized for tax research and planning needs, they include the following:

  • IRS website (www.irs.gov)
  • Tax guides and manuals (available at amazon.com and bookstores)
  • Tax software (H&R Block, Turbo Tax, etc…)
  • Internet web searches (type key words to search)
  • Tax professionals (advice of CPAs, Enrolled agents, financial planners)
  • IRS Publications
  • Contact the IRS by phone
  • Private letter rulings
Sample Questions 1 - 5
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