The tax court is a federal court that handles cases involving tax disputes between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service. Each case is heard by a single tax court judge; there are no jury trials. To be heard by the tax court, a taxpayer must file a petition with the court. Taxpayers may represent themselves before their assigned judge, or they may hire an attorney to do so. If an attorney is hired, the individual must have been admitted to the bar of the Tax Court. The tax court rules on many tax topics, including the following:
- Estate taxes
- Gift taxes
- Income taxes
- Notices of deficiency
The decisions of the tax court are usually open for public inspection.