Tax Litigation in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
By the time a tax dispute reaches litigation, the taxpayer has exhausted several layers of relief and may begin to feel like no good option is available. In reality, civil tax litigation can successfully remedy the matter. Where and how to challenge a tax liability claim is the crucial first question. Tax liability disputes are most often resolved in the U.S. Tax Courts, but may be brought in the U.S. District Court or U.S. Court of Federal Claims if more beneficial to the taxpayer. Less often, but still an important option, filing for bankruptcy may prove to be the best remedy for the taxpayer.
Brown, PC is recognized as a top tax litigation law firm that takes on high-profile cases against the IRS. We represent well-known entertainers, athletes, businesspeople and other high-net-worth individuals and global corporations. Our clients typically owe millions of dollars to the IRS and have considerable assets, profits and income at stake; they cannot afford to lose this dispute. They come to us because they know we have the experience and skills to win and will not back down in our pursuit of a successful outcome.
As with everything we do, Brown, PC takes our dedication to our clients to the highest level. Our strategic communications team provides integrated public relations and media services to minimize damages to reputation and brand image that may result from a tax dispute.
Attorney Lawrence Brown, who founded the firm, was formerly a DOJ Tax Division trial lawyer. His insider knowledge is particularly helpful in cases before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims where the IRS is a party represented by the Department of Justice lawyers. This practice is different from the U.S. Tax Courts where the IRS lawyers represent the agency. Attorney Brown has earned the respect of DOJ attorneys and investigators, IRS agents and federal judges for his ethical, professional approach to law and his zealous defense of his clients.
Jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims derives its authority from the Congress under Article I of the U.S. Constitution. All cases that come before the court involve a monetary dispute between the United States and another party. Most of those disputes involve taxes. Located in Washington, D.C., the court holds trials in regions throughout the country. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims can only take jurisdiction in a refund lawsuit upon full payment of tax liability. Judges are appointed for 15-year terms with the possibility of reappointment.
When to Choose the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Time is of the essence in pursuing relief in a tax dispute, so our firm makes a definitive, well-considered decision about which forum is best in a particular case. Our extensive experience in each tax forum is an invaluable asset. We know the rules, procedures, judges, government attorneys and general environment in the available forums and can make a strategic, tactical decision about where to bring the case. We consider filing the case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in situations in which:
- A jury would not be beneficial to our client
Should the case be decided by a judge or a jury? If the answer to this strategic question is that the judge would be the most beneficial trier of fact, we may recommend bringing the case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims where no right to a jury trial exists. If we believe a jury would be more receptive to issues of equity, fairness and reasonableness, or think the IRS has acted wrongly, we may instead file in the U.S. District Court.
- The case does not involve technical tax matters
The judge in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims is a generalist, who hears a variety of cases on a wide range of civil and criminal matters and may rarely consider a tax case. We may choose this forum in situations where the judge does not need to be a tax expert to understand the issues of law. If the case involves technical issues, we may instead opt for the U.S. Tax Court, where judges are career tax lawyers with substantial expertize on the subject.
- Precedent is more favorable to our client
Our attorneys have thoroughly studied relevant tax case law across jurisdictions and we understand how a case is affected by the case history in one jurisdiction versus another. We may choose the U.S. Court of Claims if precedent is more favorable to our client in the U.S. Court of Appeals where these cases are heard.
- Our client wants to avoid publicity
We represent many high-profile individuals and businesses for which bad publicity can cause considerable damage in addition to the issues with the IRS. When selecting a forum for these clients, staying out of the media is an important consideration. All filings in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims are made in Washington, DC, instead of in the client’s home city. This distant filing helps to defray the possibility of unwanted publicity.
- Discovery is advantageous
Under U.S. Court of Federal Claims rules, parties do not participate in full discovery, such as depositions, interrogatories and requests for document production. Whether this limited discovery is positive or negative depends upon the facts of the given case. If discovery is likely to uncover beneficial material information for our client, we may choose to bring the case in the U.S. District Court, where full discovery is conducted. However, where discovery is more likely to benefit the IRS, or just cost the client unreasonable time and money, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims may be the appropriate forum.
Consult with a Texas Tax Law Attorney about the Advantages of Filing a Case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Selecting the right forum is a pivotal decision when litigating a tax dispute. A Texas tax law attorney at Brown, PC will weigh the pros and cons of filing in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and recommend the most strategic forum in which to remedy your tax dispute.