Prepared by the United States Tax Court
Admissions & Trial Practice Programs
for Non-attorney & Attorney Federally
Authorized Tax Practitioners at Tax Law Institute.
Janean Kong EA
Certified Master Tutor
Certified Pre-trial Tax Litigation Specialist
State-certified (Hawaii) Tax Strategist
"The most important interaction the U.S. Tax Court Practitioner will have during litigation will occur at the Branerton Conference. It will set the tone for how the litigation process will unfold."
Hi, my name is Janean and I am the Certified Master Tutor for the Tax Law Institute U.S. Tax Court Trial Practice Programs. I am also a Certified Pre-trial Tax Litigation Specialist and a State-certified (Hawaii) Tax Strategist.
After you file your Petition and your case is docketed by the Clerk of the Court, you will be in the pleading phase of your Tax Court litigation.
At that point, everything that you learned with me while enrolled in the non-attorney preparation program will be put to the test. When the pleadings close (joinder of issue), you will find yourself in full-scaled negotiations with the Commissioner's attorney aka the District Counsel. These proceedings, i.e. informal discovery, are otherwise know simply as "Branerton" and are initiated with the transmission of the "Branerton Letter".
No, you're not a lawyer; you're a TLI-trained, United States Tax Court Practitioner. And that means that you actually know just as much about taxes and litigation as does your opponent (and in some cases, perhaps you might know more).
Now, do not get nervous! You really do know what you're doing! After all, you completed the best Federal tax litigation-training program offered through the IRS Provider Program. What that means is that you can match wits with the District Counsel, and perhaps, to some extent, maybe even out-smart him/her.
Remember, you are not only an experienced tax accountant (FATP), you are also a well-trained Tax Court litigator, in the truest sense of the term. At the Tax Law Institute you worked closely with a former Special Trial Judge, tax litigators, and Tax Evidence scholars. Those encounters happened over the course of a year, during which time you gained insight into how Tax Court judges legally reason. You also learned that the standard of the Court is "preponderance of the evidence".
So, when you sit down for your first Branerton Conference what should be at the forefront of your mind is: "How do I ferret-out the factual information to develop the best evidence that a judge will admit in to the record?" And, "How do I accomplish this when confronted with an opponent whose job it is to collect as much of the IRS determined tax?"
Branerton is all about finding ways to show the Government representative that your client's case is strong, and that it is in the Government's best interest to concede (stipulate to) as many elements in your Petition rather than run the risk of losing at trial. Sound familiar? Of course it does, because that's exactly what you may have done during the the IRS appeals process. And when your case gets sent back to IRS Appeals for resolution after you file your Petition (which now has an assigned docket number), you'll go back to IRS Appeals and do it all over again. But this time you will renegotiate (docketed appeal) under added pressure put upon Appeals' counsel to make a real effort to resolve the tax controversy rather than continue with actual litigation.
In our non-attorney programs - preparation, apprenticeship and litigation - you will work so closely with me, such that when you go in to your first Branerton Conference, you'll imagine that I am right there with you - reminding and coaching you that you're just as skilled as your opponent, and probably better prepared too.
Just remember through it all that you are a Tax Law Institute-trained USTCP, so you not only know tax accounting, you also know and understand how to litigate. In other words, "you got skills".
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