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 prepare 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 is scheduled for November 2014 at the Tax Court building in Washington, DC. The Tax Court will announce the fee and exam application dates in a press release approximately 6 months before the exam (late April or May 2014). Find the exam application and other details in the press release on ustaxcourt.gov.
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, but the Tax Court will not reveal the total number of passers. The Tax Court does not publish suggested answers, so it is challenging to know what answers received full points. Prepare to spend significant effort in studying for this exam.
4. Are you allowed to take the exam in parts?
No, to succeed the entire exam must be passed 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) tested information contained in the Tax Court’s Rules of Practice & Procedure, including areas of court jurisdiction. The Rules were available for use during the exam.
Federal Taxation (40%, or 96 minutes) tested information contained in the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations, along with recent Tax Court and other tax-related court decisions. A copy of 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) tested 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) tested information contained in the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, including practitioner conflicts of interest and imputed disqualification. A copy of the Model Rules is available for use.
6. What if I want to study on my own?
If you are considering taking the 2014 exam you can begin your studies now by purchasing the 2012 full exam cycle series text at a 50% discount. Materials are always updated for each exam cycle and changes in law or procedure are likely before the 2014 exam, but using 2012 materials allows you to start your 2014 studies in advance.
If you want to study on your own you will find suggestions on self-study in this website.
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: 3 of 7 who passed in 2002, all 6 who passed in 2006 and 7 of the 8 who passed in 2008 and 8 who passed in 2010 either took our entire exam cycle series for that year 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 taking your One Year Study Class option?
This innovative addition to our 2006 exam cycle series proved successful as our pass rate shows. The One Year Study Class for the 2014 will commence approximately on 11/1/13. Using a yahoo 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 live 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?
Watch for details on this web site in late summer 2013. We anticipate registration for the 2014 exam cycle will open 9/16/13. The best pricing will end 11/1/13, so don’t delay when registration opens.
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