Start a case in the Tax Court

You must file a petition to begin a case in the Tax Court. A party who files a petition in response to an IRS notice of deficiency or notice of determination is called the petitioner. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is referred to as the respondent in Tax Court cases.

Anyone can file a petition who has received:

  1. A notice of deficiency, or
  2. 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), six months have passed, and the IRS has not issued you a determination letter.

You may file a petition with the Tax Court even if you do not have a representative. You may also present your case to a Judge without being represented. This guide is provided to help you in that process. If you decide to file a petition and to proceed to trial without a representative, you must pay close attention to all the Tax Court orders and notices you receive and all the instructions provided. A petitioner who is not represented is still required to abide by the Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules). If you have difficulty reading, writing, or understanding written instructions, you should seek help.

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