Guide to Practice

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Who may Practice before US Tax Court

  • 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" must pass the US Tax Court Non-attorney Examination, a qualifying half-day federal bar examination administered every other year at the US Tax Court Building or Reagan Building in Washington DC They must also be deemed "to be in good standing" after investigation by the FBI.

Brief Description and Purpose of the US Tax Court Non-attorney Examination
  • the non-attorney exam is a written examination
  • it may include essay questions and may include short answer questions, e.g. multiple choice
  • the exam is held every two years in Washington DC
  • the time and place of the exam is publicly announced at least 6 months before the date of administration
  • the purpose of the exam is to test the abilities of applicants to represent parties in the preparation and trial of cases heard before the US 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 

Approved Designations

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," "counselor of law"  or "legal scholar" (e.g. "attorney," "lawyer" or "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) and any other meritorious academic designation or credential
  • 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) as well as , "Member of the Bar, United States Tax Court" to represent taxpayers (e.g. individuals, businesses, trusts, estates, etc.) and to resolve docketed tax controversies 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 qualify to apply for 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 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.

Eligible Applicants for the US Tax Court Exam
  • IRS Enrolled Agent
  • IRS Revenue Agent
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • MT
  • JD
  • LLM
  • anyone who deems him/her self eligible to test and is so qualified by the Court

Certified US Tax Court Litigator®
  • EA, CPA, IRS Revenue Agent, 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®. 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 successful 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.

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Our Guarantee
"If you enroll in any program and do not pass the Non-attorney Exam then you may retake the program, free-of-charge, during the next Testing Cycle."

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