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Business Tax

Tax Court Updates Non-Attorney Admission to Practice Procedures

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

The Tax Court has updated its procedures for non-attorneys to be admitted to practice. The amended procedures change the composition of, and the contracting process related to, the panel of experts who prepare and grade the Court’s written examination.

Background

An individual who is not an attorney may be admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court. (Code Sec. 7452) An individual who wishes to practice before the Tax Court (applicant), in addition to showing good moral and professional character, must pass a written examination that tests the applicant’s ability to provide competent representation for litigants before the Court. (Tax Court Rule 200(a)(3))

What’s new.

The Tax Court has made the following changes to its procedures regarding the preparation and grading of the non-attorney written examination. (In all other respects, the examination procedures remain the same.)

  • Panel of examiners. Under the new procedures, the Tax Court will appoint a panel of three experts to serve as examiners. The chairperson of the panel will prepare the substantive tax and tax procedure sections and will review and approve all questions for consistency and uniformity; one panel member will prepare the evidence section and the other will prepare the legal ethics section. To pass the examination, an applicant must attain a grade of 70% in each of the tested subjects.
  • Failing applicants. Under the new procedures, a failing applicant may obtain, for a fee set by the Tax Court, copies of his or her answers and the score he or she received for each answer. The Clerk, U.S. Tax Court, must receive such requests within 60 days after the Court notifies the applicant that that he or she did not pass the examination. The Court does not provide a copy of sample answers or the passing score to failing applicants and does not keep the exam answers for more than 120 days after the Court sends out the exam results to applicants.
  • Reconsideration of test results. Generally, the new procedures do not allow for reconsideration of the final test results once the results are sent to examinees. However, when there is a clerical error in scoring, an applicant may request reconsideration of his or her failing status within 90 days after the Court notifies the applicant that he or she did not pass the examination.
  • Post-examination hearing or interviews. The new procedures do not provide for a post-examination hearing to contest the examination results or a personal interview with the examiners or the Tax Court.

Applicants studying for the exam may obtain copies of the most recent non-attorney examination from the Clerk of the United States Tax Court, 400 Second Street N.W. Washington, DC 20217. The fee for these copies is 50¢ per page.

To continue your research on Tax Court admission requirements for applicants other than attorneys, see FTC 2d/FIN ¶U-1307.

 

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