The Judge may direct the filing of posttrial briefs, or may permit the parties to make oral argument or file memoranda or statements of legal authority. A brief is a legal document in which a party presents proposed findings of fact and legal arguments. At the end of the trial, the Judge will tell you what will be required.
You will receive a copy of the opinion in the mail. The same day it is mailed, the Tax Court will post the opinion on its Web site after 3:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Court personnel may call you to tell you the opinion is on the Web site. The opinion, written by the Judge, explains the conclusions reached after the trial or hearing. After the opinion is issued, a decision will be entered that is consistent with the opinion issued by the Judge.
You may not appeal the Judge's decision in an S case. In a regular (non-S) case, you may appeal the Judge's decision or you may file a motion for reconsideration of an opinion within 30 days after the written opinion was mailed. Your motion for reconsideration should clearly explain what you disagree with and the reasons you believe your disagreement has merit. Normally, the Judge who decided your case will decide the motion for reconsideration. A motion for reconsideration will not usually be granted absent unusual circumstances or substantial error.
If you chose, and the Tax Court granted you, small tax case status, there is no appeal from the decision of the Tax Court. See the discussion above about choosing S case status. In an S case, neither the IRS nor the petitioner can appeal. The Judge's decision is final.
If your case is a regular case, you may appeal the decision to one of the U.S. Courts of Appeals. You must wait for a decision (as opposed to the opinion) to be entered by the Tax Court before you file an appeal. A decision is a judicial determination that disposes of a case. An opinion is a statement explaining the Tax Court's decision. The notice of appeal must be filed with the Tax Court within 90 days after the decision is entered, or 120 days if the IRS appeals first. The cost for filing a notice of appeal is $500. See Rules 190, 191, 192, and 193.
Documents filed with the Court will not be returned to you. If you did not keep a copy of a document, you may request copies of particular documents by contacting the Court's Copywork Section by mail at: United States Tax Court, 400 Second Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20217-0002, or telephone at (202) 521-4688. There is a fee for copywork. You may also view, download, or print any document filed in your case if you have registered for eAccess (Petitioner Access).
A transcript of the trial is the typewritten record prepared by the reporting company reflecting everything that is said in court. A transcript is usually required if posttrial briefs are ordered by the Court and/or if your case is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Each of the parties (petitioner and respondent) is responsible for ordering and paying for a copy of their own transcript. The reporting company is a private company and is not part of the Tax Court. You should talk with the reporter during the trial session or contact the Intake Section of the Court ((202) 521-0700) after the trial session for information on how to order a transcript from the reporting company. Transcripts are not viewable through eAccess until 90 days after the date of the trial (or hearing).
n some very limited circumstances the Judge may direct that the Court pay for a transcript for a pro se petitioner. A pro se petitioner may file a motion requesting that the Court pay the expenses of a transcript. You must satisfy the Court that (1) you need a transcript to prepare posttrial briefs ordered by the Judge; (2) you do not have the financial means to pay for the transcript; and (3) the case presents a substantial question and is not frivolous. A Judge has discretion to grant or deny your motion.
You may be considered a "pro se petitioner", with respect to a motion requesting the Court pay the expenses of a transcript, if you represent yourself or if you are receiving assistance from a participating low-income taxpayer clinic or a participating bar-sponsored calendar call program.
There are some limited circumstances where a petitioner, as a prevailing party, can recover fees and costs from the IRS. In general, a party is not a prevailing party if the IRS establishes that its position was "substantially justified". A request for fees and costs cannot be filed until after the parties have settled their dispute or the Tax Court has issued its opinion.
For all non-technical questions, contact the Office of the Clerk of the Court at (202) 521-0700.