Instead of going to Tax Court you can pay the tax, file a refund claim and, when the refund claim is denied, sue for a refund in either the local United States District Court or in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C.
Why do sophisticated taxpayers often pay the tax and sue for a refund, instead of going to tax court? Because Tax Court judges are former tax lawyers who see every transaction as tax motivated. District Court judges are former Federal prosecutors. And District Court judges have lifetime tenure. So they have no fear of, or particular loyalty to, the IRS.
Also, the government lawyers in the District Court are all Assistant United States Attorneys who one day try a murder case, or drug trafficking case, and rarely try tax cases. The Assistant U.S. Attorneys do not find tax cases particularly attractive, not the type on which they will build their resume. They will communicate with the IRS in a respectful fashion. However, that is in distinct contrast to the government lawyers who try cases in Tax Court, all of whom work for the IRS and who are often located in the same office with the IRS auditor who worked up your case in the first place.
So, in many situations, it is attractive – if you can afford to do so – to pay the tax, sue for a refund, and stay out of Tax Court.