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Status of the U.S. Tax Court

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:02 pm
by Famspear
In various places, we have seen discussions of the status of the United States Tax Court. Is it part of the Executive Branch? The Judicial Branch? The Legislative Branch?

Congress has amended section 7441 of the Internal Revenue Code by adding this sentence at the end of that section:

The Tax Court is not an agency of, and shall be independent of, the executive branch of the Government.


--from section 441 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, Division Q of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (H.R. 2029), signed into law by the President on December 18, 2015.

However, section 7443(f) of the Code still provides that a Tax Court judge may be removed by the President "for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office". So, we may yet see more litigation about the status of the Tax Court.

Re: Status of the U.S. Tax Court

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:12 pm
by fortinbras
The Tax Court is an Article I court, created by Act of Congress for specific purposes and with very specific jurisdiction. Its judges are appointed for fixed terms, not for life. The point about it being "independent of the Executive Branch" is that, although it takes only cases against the IRS, the IRS cannot give it orders and the court cannot be bossed around by the IRS.

Re: Status of the U.S. Tax Court

Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:45 am
by notorial dissent
I would have thought then that they would have said the Treasury Department instead of the Administration, but maybe just a quibble.

I would assume, probably a bad error, that the enabling act(s) spells out how the Tax Courts are run and administered. Considering that they have been partially or totally reconstituted at least three times at this point, that it may have gotten a bit muddy over time.