The United States Tax Court Practitioner Demystified

"USTCP" is the professional designation for an individual who has been examined and "admitted to practice as an United States Tax Court Practitioner" and is deemed to be a "Member of the Bar of the United States Tax Court." They may act as "Counsel" to US taxpayers and foreign citizens who have been determined to have tax obligations to the United States Government. Specifically, an USTCP is an individual who has:
  • passed the United States Tax Court Non-attorney Bar Admissions Examination
  • been certified and "admitted to practice" by the United States Tax Court Office of Admission
  • who has been investigated and approved as a person in "good standing" by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation 

  • How does someone get to be certified as an USTCP?
    • Traditionally, individuals who hold the United States Tax Court Practitioner designation also hold one of the following designations:
      • Enrolled Agent
      • CPA
      • PA
      • Tax Preparer
      • LLM
      • JD
      • anyone who deems him/herself qualified to sit for the examination
    • Either of these individuals cited above possess sufficient training and education that would qualify them to sit for the US Tax Court Non-attorney Exam.
    • Most of the individuals cited above usually enroll in one of numerous IRS and non-IRS bar exam preparation programs in order to better-prepare themselves to pass the US Tax Court Non-attorney Exam administered once every other year by the US Tax Court in Washington DC.

  • FBI Background Check Required
    • All candidates for admission to the United States Tax Court Bar are subject to an FBI background check

  • How long does it take to become an USTCP?
    • With proper preparation, it will take a applicant up to two years to become a USTCP. Usually one-year or no fewer than 6 months is required to study the exam materials and then their is a 6-month waiting period for the exam results to be reported by the Court.

  • What can USTCP's do?
    • United States Tax Court Practitioners are specifically authorized to represent taxpayers before the United States Tax Court at all administrative and legal levels.. Only attorneys are authorized to take appeals to the US Court of Appeals.

  • What can USTCPs not do?
    • USTCPs may not take a case to or argue a case before the US Court of Appeals,
    • USTCPs may not provide legal advice beyond the lawful subject matter in which they've received training and certification from the Office of Admissions, US Tax Court.
    • USTCPs may not exercise their practice before any other Federal, State. or local civil legal forum.
    • USTCPs may not ever give "legal advice" or provide counsel in any realm beyond Federal tax matters.
    • USTCPs may not ever  use the terms, "lawyer," "counselor," or "attorney" to designate themselves.

  • Can someone make a living as an USTCP?
    • USTCPs can earn $40,00 - $60,00 annually while engage in shared practice as a CPA or EA.
    • USTCPs can earn $60,000 - $120,000 annually while engaged in a full-time practice before the US. Tax Court.
    • USTCPs who hold combined CPA and USTCP credentials and are engaged in a full-time practice before the US Tax Court may earn up to $250,000 annually (or more), depending on the locality and specialty of their practice.

  • Can someone make a better living if they were a CPA-USTCP

  • What would a small business owner use an CPA-USTCP for?
    • The CPA-USTCP can prepare your business taxes and represent you before the IRS if you are audited; you can also use a CPA-USTCP for accounting tasks.
    • The CPA-USTCP can represent the small business owner before the US Tax Court in the event a tax controversy arises for which the small business owner decides to challenge the determination of the IRS.

  • How much does an CPA-USTCP charge?
    • Like any professional, as much as they can get by with. However, the Tax Law Institute research gathered from among those individuals it has trained and graduated that the average charged by CPA-USTCPs is approximately $175 - $250 per hour for regular monthly accounting and legal tax services.

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