Many are aware of the last minute tax “extender” provisions passed in December 2015. But you may not be aware of the numerous other tax provisions passed in conjunction with this legislation. One of them being relative to Tax Court rule changes.
First, you normally don’t want to find yourself in Tax Court. It can be an expensive and long journey when you have the Commissioner of Internal Revenue as the respondent in Tax Court cases. But anyone can file a petition who has received a notice of deficiency or a notice of determination. You can also file a petition (in certain circumstances) if you filed a claim with the IRS for relief from joint and several liability (innocent spouse relief).
The act changes the filing period for interest abatement cases filed in the Tax Court and makes them eligible to be heard under the small tax case procedures if the abatement request does not exceed $50,000.00.
Changes are also made to the venue for appeals of spousal relief and collection cases. It suspends the running of the period for filing a petition for spousal relief or for filing a petition in a collection case where there is a pending bankruptcy case.
The act also clarifies in Sec. 7441 that “The Tax Court is not an agency of, and shall be independent of, the executive branch of the Government.” (The Tax Court was established as an Article I (legislative) court by the Tax Reform Act of 1969, P.L. 91-172, which amended Sec. 7441; before that it was an independent agency of the executive branch performing a judicial function.
By Dale F. Jensen, CPA