Tax Litigation Solutions
Both federal and Minnesota state tax laws are incredibly complicated. It is little wonder, then, that so many taxpayers disagree with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDR) when it comes to their tax liability.
In most situations, an experienced tax law attorney can help you resolve a tax dispute outside of court through an offer in compromise or an installment plan agreement. There are times, however, when it becomes necessary to go to court to protect your interests. If you are engaged in tax litigation with the IRS or the MDR, you will need a seasoned lawyer to advocate on your behalf.
As former attorneys for the IRS, the legal team of Pridgeon & Zoss has the experience and in-depth knowledge of tax law necessary to take on the state or federal government in court. Our tax litigation lawyers will work with your accountants and you to put together the strongest possible case for your case. Reach out today to schedule a consultation with our law firm about your pending tax matter.
When Is It Necessary to Take a Tax Dispute to Court?
There are two types of tax litigation: civil and criminal. Civil tax litigation is typically initiated by a taxpayer by filing a petition in US Tax Court or Minnesota Tax Court after receiving a final audit determination from the IRS or the MDR. This type of litigation is usually a last resort after other attempts to settle the matter have failed. Civil tax litigation usually involves issues related to the omission of income or the availability of deductions or credits.
By contrast, criminal cases are commenced by the state or federal government. These matters typically center around issues such as alleged tax evasion, fraud, or the failure to pay taxes.
There are a number of ways to resolve a civil tax dispute without resorting to litigation. For example, the IRS offers a number of alternative dispute resolution options during the examination process and at the appeals level, including:
However, there are situations where the best course of action may be to file a claim against the IRS or MDR in state or federal court. A tax litigation attorney can work with you to help you make a decision about the best, most cost-efficient, and most effective way to resolve your tax dispute.
Proving Your Case in Tax Court
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the IRS or the MDR in federal or state court, then the burden of proof will rest on your shoulders. You will be required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that your position regarding a tax assessment or refund is correct. Under a preponderance of the evidence standard, you will need to convince a judge that it is more likely than not that the tax authority made an error.
Typically, tax court litigants meet this standard by introducing documentary evidence, witness testimony, and/or testimony and reports from experts. A seasoned tax litigation attorney will coordinate with and retain experts such as forensic accountants and valuation experts to analyze the documents in your case and prepare reports. We will also work with you to gather the most relevant documents and witnesses to support your case. In this way, you will be able to build a strong evidentiary case to prove that you either do not owe additional taxes to the IRS or MDR or that you are entitled to a refund.
An Experienced Tax Lawyer for the Twin Cities, Minnesota
When your tax problem cannot be settled out of court, you want an attorney on your side who knows federal and Minnesota tax law. At the law firm of Pridgeon & Zoss, PLLC, we have the skill and IRS litigation experience to present your case in the best possible light, to help you obtain a solution that is best for your circumstances.
Our firm was founded by two former attorneys for the IRS. We understand how the agency operates and how they handle various types of tax disputes. We know how the U.S. and Minnesota Tax Courts work. Our unique perspective on tax law gives us the ability to expertly guide clients through each potential option with an eye toward resolving a case in a manner that is most favorable to you as a taxpayer.
When it comes to tax litigation, you want experience on your side. With more than 70 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys know finances and what the IRS and MDR look for when reaching an acceptable resolution out of court. When a trial becomes necessary to resolve your tax dispute, we know what the IRS and MDR are seeking and how they will build their case. With our long experience in both Minnesota and the U.S. Tax Courts, we also know what the Judges are looking for in order to give a taxpayer a favorable decision.
Tax Litigation Process
We will represent you in a state or federal tax litigation. Whether this is your first tax litigation case, or you have been involved in tax disputes in U.S. or Minnesota courts before, won’t necessarily impact the final decision. Do not be discouraged by agency proceedings. Successful tax litigation can still result in the reduction or elimination of tax debt. We will protect your interests throughout the complex and formal court proceedings, including drafting pleadings, conducting discovery and taking testimony, and pursuing settlement options before trial.
Even when unsuccessful at trial, your case is open to appeal to the state or federal appellate court. If you have a compelling case and a commitment to litigation, we can fight for you at all levels of appeals, all the way to the U.S. or Minnesota supreme court. Our successful representation of several taxpayers before the Minnesota Supreme Court is just one example of our extensive courtroom litigation experience.
Do I Need to Pay a Disputed Tax Before Pursuing Tax Litigation?
It depends. Most federal tax cases are resolved through the deficiency determination process. In these cases, the taxpayer does not need to pay the disputed tax liability before proceeding to tax court. In Minnesota, the Department of Revenue makes a final audit or administrative decision and issues an Order assessing additional tax. This Order can be appealed to the Minnesota Tax Court without the tax being paid before the Court hears the case.
However, for some types of taxes (such as excise) and penalties, you may be required to pay all or some of the tax liability before challenging it in court. In any case, interest and penalties will continue to accrue until the final liability is determined and paid. A skilled tax litigation attorney can help you determine the best course of action for handling any disputed tax amount before proceeding to court.
Will a Judge or Jury Determine My Case?
Most civil tax cases are decided by a judge. However, jury trials are available in some situations, with a judge overseeing the trial process. Most criminal tax cases are heard by a jury.
There are advantages and disadvantages to having your case heard by a judge and a jury. An experienced tax litigation attorney, such as the legal team at Pridgeon & Zoss, can help you decide which option is right for you. Reach out to our law firm today to schedule a consultation with a Minnesota tax lawyer.
Being involved in a tax dispute can be scary. Going up against the MDR or the IRS isn’t for the faint of heart. Having a seasoned tax litigation attorney on your side can help to level the playing field and give you the best possible chance of a favorable outcome.
At Pridgeon & Zoss, our practice is focused exclusively on tax law. We have decades of combined experience and in-depth knowledge of both state and federal tax law to help guide you through the tax litigation process.
If your tax dispute is going to court, your best legal option is to have an experienced tax litigation attorney on your side. Contact us online or by phone at 952-232-0371 to discuss your tax law case. We are available during regular business hours. After hours, you may leave a voicemail at any time. Schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation with an MN tax attorney and receive an honest evaluation of your tax litigation case. We offer an initial consultation discount.