The Calm Before the Storm: 5 Preparations to Make If You’re Facing a Tax Trial

by Susan Paige
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You will normally get a reasonable amount of notice if your case has been scheduled for trial in the tax court, about five months or so, but that time can soon evaporate and the trial date will probably come far too quickly for your liking.

A smart move when you get this notice would be to get some professional guidance from a tax attorney who will know how the system works and what sort of questions you are going to be asked.

It should also be noted that the reason why there is a reasonable period of notice is primarily down to allowing an opportunity for a settlement to be negotiated and paperwork to be prepared.

Here is a look at some of the key ways to prepare for a tax trial.

Pay attention to the instructions

You will receive a Standing Pretrial Order from the tax court and you will need to pay close attention to this document as it provides detailed instructions in relation to preparing for your trial.

Included in this document are some instructions that outline how you might be able to settle the case before it actually gets to trial.

What you need to file

Talk to your tax attorney about negotiating a settlement if that is what you want to do and be mindful that you will also need to file a pretrial memorandum with the tax court.

This document needs to be filed at least 14 days before the trial date and this memorandum can also prove to be a useful checklist of what you need to prepare in anticipation of the trial.

Watch out for any changes

There are occasions when certain information has been omitted or changed that should have been originally included in the pretrial memorandum.

A Final Status Report takes care of that scenario and every party connected to the tax case will have to be notified of these amendments.

You would also use this document to notify the court that you have reached a settlement that the court is not currently aware of.

Prepare yourself for what lies ahead

Facing a tax trial requires a clear head and plenty of preparation.

If would be highly advisable to create a comprehensive checklist of all the documents and evidence that you want to produce in court and make a note of all the key points you want to make.

You should also provide the IRS with copies of the documentation that you intend to produce in court.

Think about getting professional help

Facing a tax trial can be daunting and stressful and if you want to fight your corner and try to achieve the best possible outcome in the circumstances it might prove beneficial to get some professional guidance.

A tax attorney will have been through the court process many times before and because they offer the protection of attorney-client privilege you should be able to discuss the situation openly in order to formulate a way to resolve the situation.


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