A Tax Court Action, Step by Step

THE OFFICIAL RULES of the U.S. Tax Court are titled The Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure.1 They are based on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,2 differing from them in small but important ways. Anyone conducting a case before the Tax Court is well advised to become thoroughly familiar with both.

I will describe in as much detail as I can the sequence of events and what happens in each phase of a Tax Court case below. The discussion will include frequent references to the rules, but I will also try to tell you the details that don’t appear in the rules that I’ve learned by participating in the process. My focus will be on the procedures for just two types of Tax Court cases: those involving either a Notice of Deficiency or a final Notice of Determination. The procedures for other types of cases the court can hear are discussed in the rules, and frankly, I have no experience with them. Generally the information that follows will be useful in any Tax Court case.