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Discovery Tools, Depositions
A deposition is the face to face questioning of a witness under oath before a court reporter. A deposition can be held anywhere convenient to the parties, usually in the office of one of the attorneys or parties to the case. Discovery by deposition can only take place after a trial date has been set and a judge assigned to the case. That would usually be at least six months after the petition was filed and usually within six months of the trial date. Tax Court Rule 74 describes the general rules for depositions, with more detail in Title X of the rules. The rules say that taking involuntary depositions of non-parties is “an extraordinary method of discovery.”
As a practical matter, taking depositions is time consuming and expensive. You have to pay for the witnesses’ time and travel as well as your own, for the services of a court reporter, the costs of transcripts, and any other costs involved. I have never taken a deposition or been deposed, and have never encountered a Tax Court case where depositions were used. For that reason I leave it to the reader to determine the usefulness of depositions for discovery purposes, recommending that you be thoroughly familiar with the rules should you decide to pursue it.
Deposing the Commissioner of Internal Revenue would be a most interesting bit of work for someone with the resources and fortitude to undertake it.