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Issues, Facts and Law
The three elements of any legal case are issues, facts and law.
You are the plaintiff in a Tax Court case. That is to say, you are suing the IRS. Although we have become accustomed to the idea that American citizens are “innocent until proven guilty” that’s not how it works in Tax Court. The IRS is the defendant, or respondent. You are the plaintiff, called the petitioner in Tax Court. You have the burden of proof to show you do not owe the money the IRS claims you owe. See Tax Court Rule 142(a). Proving you don’t owe something is a daunting burden. As the petitioner, however, you determine what the trial will be about. The trial will be held to settle the issues you raise in your petition. You will be able to object to any attempt by your opponent to bring up issues that are “outside the pleadings” and he will have the burden of proof on any increases in the deficiency or “new matters.” New matters are issues that did not appear in the notice that got you to Tax Court. Check the answer you receive to your petition carefully to see if any new issue appears there in the form of an allegation not made in the notice. If one does, the respondent will have the burden of proof on it. Otherwise, you state the issues in your petition, and it is up to you to keep the trial focused on those issues.
Facts are what the trial is all about. You frame the issues in your petition, and from then on, you will be trying to establish the facts that will be admitted into evidence at the trial to prove your case. Your opponent will be doing the same. You state in your petition a list of errors the IRS made, and a list of facts on which you rely in determining they made them. The IRS will admit or deny those facts. At the trial you will both offer fact evidence to support your allegations. Between the time you file your petition and the trial, you both will have the opportunity to obtain evidence through ...
The words you see above IN BLUE are active hyperlinks in the E-Book version of "ON YOUR OWN IN TAX COURT." The E-Book edition contains extensive links to statutes, regulations, case law, and other useful authorities and resources. There is also an Appendix of actual court documents submitted by both sides. The purchase of the book includes a free half hour consultation with the author about your case.