The U.S. Tax Court will now require the Internal Revenue Service to file an answer in all small tax cases.The amendments to the court’s rules will apply to all petitions filed after March 13. Small tax cases are currently defined as cases where the amount of deficiency does not exceed $50,000.

Chief Judge John Colvin first announced the proposed change in September, noting that small tax cases comprise about half of the court’s docket. He said that petitioners in those cases are increasingly being represented by low-income taxpayer clinics, and suggested that those parties, as well as the court itself, could benefit from “improved pretrial communication” -- hopefully resulting in the settlement of some of those cases outside of court.

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