Requirements

The following section provides information on the requirements for the Certifications at the Tax Law Institute.

Certification, Residence and Credit Requirements

To qualify for the certification participants must fulfill the following requirements:

a) must meet minimum program residency requirements;
b) complete all tutorials;
c) complete all written examinations
d) demonstrate satisfactory comprehension of the material; and
e) complete all written work requirements, if any

Tutorial Participation

Tutorial and course participation is essential to the individual and joint certification programs at the Tax Law Institute and University of Alabama School of Law. Regular participation in tutorials and classes is expected of all participants. An electronic log is maintained by the Teaching Faculty. The Tax Law Institute may, after appropriate procedures, treat participants as having withdrawn from the tutorial in question if they do not join the conferences. Participants who believe they need to miss participating for an extended period of time must contact the Teaching Faculty who can assist with such situations and can ensure that they comply with the Institute's attendance policy and related policies.

In no event may participants receive credit for tutorials that are incomplete in whole or in part. Participants should avail themselves of a thorough reading of the Tax Law Institute's policies, rules and procedures listed in this electronic communication.

Policy Statement Concerning Religious Observances

Any participant who is unable, because of his/her religious beliefs, to participate, test in any examination, study, or complete a work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which s/he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon the Tax Law Institute. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the Tax Law Institute for making available to the said participant such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any participant because of his/her availing him/herself of the provisions of this section.

Minimum Grades for Short Research Papers (SRP)

a) Certification candidates must demonstrate a reasonable level of comprehension of the material in order to be certified. In addition, specialized certification candidates must earn a minimum grade of B-minus on the Short Research Papers (SRP) submitted to satisfy the Written Work Requirement, if required. Specialized certification candidates must also reasonable comprehension of the  material throughout the program. Academic work that does not demonstrate a reasonable comprehension of the material is not credited toward certification. Tutorials related to such work must be repeated in order to be certified. There is a charge to repeat a tutorial. Participants should see "Fees & Policy."
b) In calculating grade point average (GPA) the following scale of grades with their numerical equivalents is used:

A+ = 8
A = 7
A- = 6
B+ = 5
B = 4
B- = 3
C = 2
D = 1
F = 0

Each tutorial is weighted in accordance with the number of CPE credits earned in the tutorial.

Participants failing to meet the minimum academic requirements may be allowed, by decision of the Tax Law Institute, to undertake substitute work, take re-examination, or retake tutorials within the next session following the end of the certification period. All additional work must be completed no later than 3 months after the end of the first year.

Grade Change

A grade on a Short Research Paper may change only if it was incorrect as a result of an arithmetical, administrative, or other "mechanical" error. A grade may not be changed as a result of a reevaluation of a participant's work except by vote of the Tax Law Institute and approval by the Teaching Faculty.

Certification Written Work Requirement

All certification candidates must satisfy the written work requirements for certification. Methods of satisfying that requirement are described below.

a) The Short Research Paper is a considerably less substantial written work of approximately 15 to 25 pages, undertaken solely by the participant, but with faculty consultation, to demonstrate a participant's comprehension and application of the subject matter of the subject matter. 

b) The Short Research Paper is required of all participants in the specialized certification programs in order to encourage significant research and writing in a field of their interest. The Short Research Paper calls for substantially more work than participants may be use to doing and reflects the challenging nature of the Tax Law Institute's specialized certification programs.

The SRP is not an option; it is mandatory. The Tax Law Institute takes into account the participant's experience since entering the tax field. Participants who fail to complete the Written Work Requirement are subject to removal from the certification list.

The following rules and guidelines also apply to the Written Work Requirement:

a) Supervision by faculty

Short Research Papers must be done under the supervision of the faculty and completed no later than end of second session.

b) Prohibition Against Compensation

A participant may not receive credit for written work for which he or she also receives compensation.

c) Submitting a SRP Proposal 

A participant must submit a SRP Proposal to the faculty. Details for the proposal will be provided by the faculty. Faculty may require additional preliminary information, such as a telephonic/electronic discussion of the subject matter, an outline, or a longer description. A participant should submit the proposal to the faculty as well as any other material requested, sufficiently in advance so as to be able to meet the deadline for the program. Since faculty may require additional preliminary work before accepting a proposal, participants are advised to seek approval well in advance of this date.

d) Faculty

Each participant will be assigned to a faculty member.

e) Earning Extra Credit

On rare occasions, specialized certification candidates writing the Short Research Paper may seek additional credit where the paper significantly exceeds the original parameters in form (at least 15-to-25 additional pages) and in substance. Participants writing the SRP are not eligible for additional credit after the fact. This is an outstanding opportunity for tax professionals who know upon entering the specialized program what area of tax law is of particular interest to them. Albeit, participants are not encouraged to attempt to use this process as a means of short-circuiting the Written Work Requirement. Unfocused and quickly decided topical areas of concentration usually unravel, most frequently just at the time the participant believes he or she is ready to submit his SRP. If so, the participant will not meet the grade criteria for the Written Work Requirement and, subsequently, discover that he or she has been removed from the certification list.