Tax Court – Definition

Cite this article as:"Tax Court – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated May 5, 2019, last accessed November 26, 2020,


Tax Court Definition

The Tax Court is a restricted or specialized court that handles tax-related disputes. Although the tax court has no jury system, the court handles a wide range of tax matters or issues. As established by the Congress of the United States, the tax court has jurisdiction over tax related matters or disputes. It serves as a platform where taxes and deficiencies related to them can be contested. As a federal court, the tax court can mediate and give verdicts on tax deficiencies by the Internal Revenue Service. Complainants often wait on the decision of the tax court before they pay any disputed tax amount.

A Little More on What is the Tax Court

The United States tax court has 19 members appointed by the President. This court can make decisions or give verdicts that are independent of the Internal Revenue service. When it comes to issues or disputes emanating from tax levied by the internal revenue service, whether it is an individual or corporate tax, the tax court has the jurisdiction of overseeing and settling such disputes.

The tax court can also overrule exhorbitant or unjustifiable tax rates issued by IRS. Taxpayers often take to the tax court in cases of tax deficiency or tax dispute. Tax court hears cases relating to income tax, service tax, estate tax, goods and services tax, among others.

Just like every other court, there are trial procedures that are duly followed in the tax court. A tax court cannot commence any case that has not been filed. Taxpayers who wants to dispute a deficient tax needs to file a petition (a $60 filing fee attracted) with the court within 90 days of a Notice of Deficiency letter from the IRS.

Once the petition has been filed, hearing begins, a taxpayer can either appear in person or be represented by a legal practitioner. Taxpayers may choose to conduct their case in the Court’s simplified small tax case procedure which as less formal trials with faster results.  Although, most cases are settled before trial, some go to the trail stage. Once due procedures are followed and the presiding judge lords over the matter, the case can then be closed.

References for Tax Court

Academic Research on Tax Court

The method of comparables and tax court valuations of private firms: An empirical investigation, Beatty, R. P., Riffe, S. M., & Thompson, R. (1999). Accounting Horizons, 13(3), 177-199.

The Evolution of the Tax Court as an Independent Tribunal, Laro, D. (1995). U. Ill. L. Rev., 17.

Do Attorneys Do Their Clients Justice-An Empirical Study of Lawyers’ Effects on Tax Court Litigation Outcomes, Lederman, L., & Hrung, W. B. (2006). Wake Forest L. Rev., 41, 1235.

Instant Replay, Weak Teams, and Disputed Calls: An Empirical Study of Alleged Tax Court Judge Bias, Maule, J. E. (1998). Tenn. L. Rev., 66, 351.

How to Read Tax Court Opinions, Cohen, M. A. (2001). Hous. Bus. & Tax LJ, 1, 1.

Tax Court Article lll and the Proposal Advanced by the Federal Courts Study Committee: A Study in Applied Constitutional Theory, Geier, D. A. (1990). Cornell L. Rev., 76, 985.

Is the Tax Court Constitutional, Ginsberg, D. L. (1963). Miss. LJ, 35, 382.

Deferential Review of Tax Court Decisions: Dobson Revisited, Shores, D. F. (1995). Tax Law., 49, 629.

Tax Appeal: A Proposal to Make the United States Tax Court More Judicial, Lederman, L. (2007). Wash. UL Rev., 85, 1195.

The Small‐Case Procedure of the United States Tax Court: A Small Claims Court That Works, Whitford, W. C. (1984). Law & Social Inquiry, 9(4), 797-828.

Law, Fact, and Taxes: Review of Tax Court Decisions Under Section 1141 of the Internal Revenue Code, Rice, R. S. (1951). Colum. L. Rev., 51, 439.


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