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I Received a Notice of Deficiency that Says I Have 90 Days to File Petition in Tax Court. What is Tax Court and is it Different from State Court?

Tax Court is a court that hears cases involving tax litigation. Its basic jurisdiction lies in determining cases cited as being deficient in the payment of any federal tax. Although centered in Washington, D.C., it may sit in any area of the United States at any given time (and currently is virtual). A taxpayer may appeal an adverse decision from the Tax Court to the U.S. Court of Appeals, or may pay the disputed deficiency and then sue for repayment either in a federal District Court or the United States Claims Court.

Once filed, a case must have a resolution, either through appeals (before the case in the IRS), settlement, or trial.  You must file a petition in Tax Court in response to some types of IRS notices to preserve your rights to relief.

The filing fee for Tax Court is only $60 and may be waived for low income taxpayers.  If you receive a Notice of Deficiency, it is a good idea to file a tax court petition if you feel you have an explanation for any items being examined on your return or for any penalties.  Rarely are correspondence (mail) examinations completed before the 90 days to file a petition pass.  

Tax Court petitions may also be filed for many reasons other than a Notice of Deficiency.  Contact your tax professional or tax attorney for more information.

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