A Review of the 10 Most Common Types of Tax Litigation in 2013

Posted on Feb 07, 2014

On January 9, 2014, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen gave her 2013 annual report to Congress. The report contained a great deal of information for taxpayers and recommendations for the IRS.

Top 10 Reasons for Tax Litigation in 2013

Part of the report focused on the most common reasons for tax litigation last year. According to the report, tax problems were most often litigated in federal courts for the following reasons:

  1. Accuracy related penalties
  2. Trade or business expenses
  3. Gross income
  4. Summons enforcement
  5. Collection due process hearings
  6. Failure to file penalty, failure to pay penalty, and estimated tax penalty
  7. Charitable deductions
  8. Frivolous issues penalty
  9. Civil actions to support federal tax liens or to subject property to the payment of tax
  10. Relief from joint and several liability for spouses


With the exception of charitable deductions, the tax litigation cases described above were also among the top 10 reasons for tax litigation in 2012. These types of tax cases may be heard in one of four federal courts: The United States Tax Court, The United States District Court, The United States Court of Federal Claims, or The United States Bankruptcy Court.

Taxpayers Who Were Represented Were More Likely to Prevail

While many taxpayers chose to represent themselves in federal tax litigation last year, the National Taxpayer Advocate’s report found that taxpayers who were represented by an attorney were more likely to prevail than those who represented themselves. If you have a tax problem that you think is headed to ligation, we encourage you to read our library article that explains why you should hire an experienced tax attorney.

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