The Tax Court exam will be given again in November, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions About the Tax Court Exam

1. Why take the Tax Court exam?

Circular 230 professionals may represent clients administratively at all levels within the Internal Revenue Service, but may not sign petitions or represent clients in the Tax Court without passing the non-attorney Tax Court admission examination.

2. When is the exam offered and how much does it cost?

Currently the Tax Court offers the exam every other year.  The next exam will be in November 2014 at the Tax Court building in Washington, DC.  The Tax Court will announce the date and application period in a press release approximately 6 months before the exam.  For your reference:  the 2012 exam fee was $75 and the Tax Court accepted applications from 6/1-10/5/12.  Find the exam application and other details on

3. Is the exam difficult?

Very much so, with pass rates typically in the 5-10% range.   For example, 6 of the 58 people who sat for the 2006 exam passed as did 8 of the 54 who sat for the 2008 exam (there are more statistics in the article on this site).  We know that 8 of our students passed the 2010 exam, and that 10 passed the 2012 exam, but the Tax Court no longer reveals the total number of passers.  The Tax Court does not publish suggested answers, and you do not receive your exam answers if you passed, so it’s challenging to know what answers received full points.  We use scored exam answers to develop suggested answers for each exam, and utilize that information in our text.  Prepare to spend significant effort in studying for this exam.

4. Are you allowed to take the exam in parts?

No, you must pass the entire exam at one sitting with a score of 70% or better for each section.

5. What is tested?

Over a four hour period the 2012 Tax Court exam tested competence in these subject areas:

    Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure (25%, or 60 minutes of allocated time) tests information contained in the Tax Court’s Rules of Practice & Procedure, including areas of court jurisdiction.  The Rules are available during the exam.

    Federal Taxation (40%, or 96 minutes) tests information contained in the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations, along with recent Tax Court and other tax-related court decisions.  The IRC is available during the exam.  Many tested topics go beyond what the tax professional routinely sees in practice.

    Evidence (25%, or 60 minutes) tests information contained in the Federal Rules of Evidence, including evidentiary applications in the courtroom.  The questions generally pose courtroom scenarios that require the applicant to recognize the issue and apply the relevant rules.  No resources are available during this section.

    Legal Ethics (10%, or 24 minutes) tests information contained in the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, including practitioner conflicts of interest and imputed disqualification.  The Model Rules are available during the exam.

6. What if I want to study on my own?

If you are considering taking the 2014 exam we strongly suggest you purchase the full 2014 exam cycle series which gives you comprehensive materials for any class you miss plus the One Year Study Class chat group for assignments.  If you want to study on your own you will find suggestions on self-study in this website, or you can purchase our 2012 materials for $1,800 (you will need to update them for 2014 changes in law or procedure).

No CE is available for any self-study.

7. Why take a professional Tax Court exam prep course?

Determining how and what to study can be daunting as the topics tested cover very broad areas of knowledge.  An instructor can guide you in the process and focus your attention on the topics most likely to be tested.

8. Why should I take your course?

Our instructor offers a hands-on up-to-date course using the most current tax laws and court cases in each session.  Attending the live sessions also gives you the chance to work with others who are taking this rigorous examination; because of the small number of test-takers, this is particularly beneficial if you find it productive to study with others.  Our success speaks for itself: 11 of those who passed in 2012, 8 who passed in 2010, 7 of the 8 who passed in 2008, all 6 who passed in 2006, and 3 of 7 who passed in 2002 either took our entire exam cycle series for that year, purchased text, or attended the two day review session immediately before the exam.  Our practice test (given on the first day of the review session) allows you to take a timed test under real exam conditions which is crucial in determining your test taking strategy.

9. What is the benefit to your One Year Study Class option?

This innovative addition to our 2006 exam cycle series proved successful as our pass rate shows.  Using a chat group our students receive monthly assignments to work on at their own pace, with answers provided the following month.  The instructor recommends Tax Court cases to read and students are encouraged to communicate with each other.  By the time the classroom sessions are held, the student is exposed to much of the material covered in that session, which enhances learning and long term memory.

10. How do I sign up?

Registration for the 2014 exam cycle opens 9/15/13 using the 2014 Exam Cycle Form.  The best pricing ends 11/1/13, so don’t delay.

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