Guide to Practice
Who may Practice before the U.S. Tax Court?
Eligible Applicants for the US Tax Court Exam
- Practice before the United States Tax Court is restricted to State-licensed attorneys who are members in good standing of a State bar and who upon request are admitted to practice before the Court. The applying attorney must submit a Certificate of Good Standing validating no disciplinary action within the previous 30 days in the licensing jurisdiction
- Non-attorney CPAs, EAs and other professional or lay persons who are "Admitted to Practice, U.S. Tax Court" must have passed the U.S. Tax Court Non-attorney Examination, a qualifying half-day federal bar examination administered every other year at the U.S. Tax Court Building or Reagan Building in Washington DC.
- Before they can be, "Admitted to Practice, U.S. Tax Court," successful Non-attorney test takers must also be deemed "to be in good standing" by the FBI.
Can you give a brief description and state the purpose of the US Tax Court Non-attorney Examination
- The Non-attorney Exam is a written examination.
- The Non-attorney Exam may include essay questions and may include short answer questions, e.g. multiple choice.
- The Non-attorney Exam is held every two years in Washington DC.
- The time and place of the Non-attorney Exam is publicly announced at least 6 months before the date of administration. The Announcement is posted during the month of June at the U.S. Tax Court website, http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/.
- The purpose of the Non-attorney Exam is to test the abilities of applicants to represent parties in the preparation and trial of cases (both "S" cases and "Regular" cases) heard before the U.S. Tax Court
Tested subjects on US Tax Court Non-attorney Examination
- Evidence (25%)
- "Tax Evidence" as derived from the Federal Rules of Evidence
- Legal Ethics (aka "Conduct") (10%)
- ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
- Rules of Practice and Procedures (25%)
- Substantive Tax (aka "Federal Taxation") (40%)
- Income Taxation
- Taxation of Gifts and Estates
- Tax Procedures and Legal Analysis
- The structure and history of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, and the general subject of the revenue laws and the interpretation placed thereon by the Court in leading cases.
- The constitutional and general substantive law applicable to Tax Court cases.
- Notable Opinions written by Members of the Tax Court Judiciary 2019-20
Please take note that non-attorney admission to the US Tax Court does not,
- confer attorney status nor permit the newly-admitted USTCP to hold him/herself out as a "practitioner of law" or "counselor of law" (both State-licensed individuals and members of a State Bar Association), or "legal scholar" (e.g. "law professor")
- such designations require the individual to be licensed and admitted to a State bar (attorney/counselor) or graduated from a law school (lawyer) with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree (American) or LLB (foreign), or "law professor" ("legal scholar") appointed to teach or conduct research by a President, Dean, or Board of Trustees of a law school approved by a State Bar.
- however, admission to the Tax Court bar does permit the successful applicant to use the designations "United States Tax Court Practitioner" or "Federal Tax Counsel," or simply, "Counsel" (although some members of the ABA frown upon the use of this term). Recently coming into common use is the designation, "Member of the Bar, United States Tax Court" when USTCPs represent taxpayers (e.g. individuals, businesses, trusts, estates, etc.). Subsequently, it is now widely accepted practice that the USTCP may use the designation, "Counsel" and his/her bar registration number in his/her signatory when submitting documents for a case docketed by the Clerk of the US Tax Court in any of the 50 states or US territories, or wherever the Court holds sessions.
- United States Tax Court Practitioners (USTCPs) and State-licensed Attorneys must qualify to use the designation, "Certified US Tax Court Litigator®." Such certification asserts the preparedness and litigation skills-set of an Attorney (admitted on request to practice in the Tax Court) or the United States Tax Court Practitioner to competently take a case from petition-to-trial, and achieve the best possible outcomes for the petitioner-taxpayer-client. The designation, "Certified US Tax Court Litigator," is a registered trademark and property of the Tax Law Institute's U.S. Tax Court Trial Practice Program. All trademark infringements will be aggressively enforced.
Eligible Applicants for the US Tax Court Exam
- IRS Enrolled Agent
- Certified Public Accountant
- anyone who deems him/her self eligible to test and is so qualified by the Court
Certified US Tax Court Litigator®
- EA, CPA, M. Tax, LMM, JD, or State-licensed Attorney who has been "Admitted to Practice, U.S. Tax Court" and designated, "Certified US Tax Court Litigator®" by the Tax Law Institute's US Tax Court Trial Practice Program may use the designation in their signatory. Such designation is bestowed after the USTCP has successfully completed the Tax Law Institute's "Litigation of Federal Civil Tax Controversies Lecture Series at Harvard, and after one year of practice before the Court.
- Such certification affirms the preparedness and litigation-skills set of an Attorney (admitted to practice in the Tax Court) or United States Tax Court Practitioner to competently take a case from petition-to-trial, and achieve the best possible outcomes for the petitioner-taxpayer-client.
"If you prepare with us and do not pass the 2020 Non-attorney Exam then you may prepare again, on us, during the 2022 Testing Cycle; however, you must pay for your own meals and accommodations where applicable."
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