Discussion:Tax Court Bar Exam

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EA rob (talk|edits) said:

9 February 2010
I looked in the yellow box and didnt find anyone talking about this.

I was looking for some study guides or material on preparing to take this exam, I have been to ustaxcourt.gov and didn't see much outside of the rules section!!!!

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

9 February 2010
Get you started: Discussion:Tax court examination for admissions.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

9 February 2010
EA rob:

Good for you! Go for it. But understand, this exam is written by tax lawyers and graded by tax lawyers. It is a bar exam in every sense of the word (except for the narrow scope of the substantive law.)

Now, I got in the easy way; three years of law school and passing the State bar, so they waived me in. But I've looked at some of the materials out there and I gotta warn you...I doubt that many LAWYERS would sit this exam based on self-study. No, if you want a decent shot at passing, you need to do what virtually every J.D. does when facing a State bar exam; sign up for a formal bar review course.

And that's gonna cost ya. Those review courses can run in the thousands of dollars and you will spend hundreds of hours on them but the providers have the figures to show that their students PASS. They pass waaaay out of proportion to applicants in general.

Keep in mind, too, that this isn't a multiple choice exam. You will write essay answers to essay questions and that's a knack that law school goes to great pains to instill. You don't have that advantage.

Do it. It's worth it. But don't allow yourself the fantasy that you can approach it like a somewhat harder SEE. It's not. It is a completely different animal.

BrockEA (talk|edits) said:

10 February 2010
Go for it, you will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts when successful.


However, I can think of many things I would rather do than this exam....in no specific order:

1) Being drawn and quartered.

2) Being castrated through the esophagus

3) Being eaten by a Lion and then regurgitated


Best of luck.


BrockEA

AdelEA (talk|edits) said:

10 February 2010
I've looked into it before and what I came across from so many sites and individuals is that if you want a shot at passing this exam then you must use Sherrill Gregory as she is well known instructor for that exam. Here is a link [http://www.taxcourtexam.com/instructor_s_bio.html. I saw from another post of yours that you would rather not take the CPA and find another designation to help you expand your practice, in my humble opinion the CPA exam is a lot easier than the tax court exam. In any case, good luck!

--AdelEA 19:19, 9 February 2010 (CST)

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

10 February 2010
There are a few users on this site who have passed the exam - NYEA is one. I hope he doesn't mind me telling this - it is quite an accomplishment.

EA rob (talk|edits) said:

10 February 2010
The only problem I forsee is not knowing a tax attorney or anyone able to practice in that court. I know some attorneys and plan on doing some time in their office to learn alot about the evidence and the federal part of the exam.

Any thoughts????

Congratulations to NYEA that is a true accomplishment!!!!

EA rob 11:09, 10 February 2010 (CST)

MorrowTax (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2011
Has anyone used Sherrill Gregory's study course? Also, does anyone have any insight into this whole process?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2011
http://taxcourtexam.com/contact_us.html

It's Sherrill Trovato, EA now.

Yes, there are several people on this site who have passed (not me) and several who have taken the test (me) but not passed. It's only given in even years, so best to start studying NOW for next year's exam.


Historically, more of Sherril's (EA) students pass than any other instructor's. Not all of her students pass, though.

I took Steve Diamond CPA's class 13 years ago, and didn't pass. Blame me, not the class, though. I just didn't know enough about Ethics of attorneys to pass that part. I passed all of the other parts.

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2011
I, like NMex, became a member the easy way. Unfortunately, it's not an exam that has a wide degree of appeal, so there isn't a BarBri or Becker for it. I've heard that the Tax Court exam is particularly difficult and I don't know anyone personally that has completed it. The pass rate is in the single digits (and those are the people insane enough to sit for it), although with an instructor you'll have a significantly better shot at it. I don't really know how marketable it is (not many lay people understand it and even tax lawyers don't argue in Tax Court very often). I'd recommend getting a CPA instead. Both will end up taking a large amount of your effort, but there's a much higher pass rate for the CPA exam and the financial rewards are much greater since the average client will know what "CPA" means.

That's my 2c on it. It might be worth sending a PM to Dave Fogel, as I know he's a non-attorney that is licensed in Tax Court.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2011
I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone sit for the exam unless they have a lot of, and want to build more, representation business. I know several USTCP's, and they are all brilliant. You have to be to pass the exam.

I just sent Sherrill an email to put me on the list for next year's class. I'm up for some more self abuse.

MorrowTax (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2011
I was just going to ask if you were going to give it another go! Any plans for changing your approach? I've been reading through the supplemental information required by Sherrill's course to try and jumpstart the class. The FRE is pretty good reading!

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2011
I just received an email back from Sherrill. Yes, I'll give it another go.

Sherrill is quite busy as president of NAEA this year plus all she does for NTPI. She said she will begin registration on 09/01/11 with classes starting 11/01/11. Bookmark her website to check back often.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2011
You will pass this time, Kevin. I'd put a very small monetary wager on it.

I've spent some time looking at the two or three prep courses out there and also read the recent article in the EA Journal by an unsuccessful examinee. I wonder...Tax people seem to have more trouble with the non-tax, lawyer-type stuff than with the technical material even though the tax questions are complex and difficult. THere isn't a "Gilberts" out there directed at Tax Court hopefuls that I know of

Hmm.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2011
Thank you, NMexEA. I just placed my Amazon.com order for Federal Rules of Evidence and Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Light reading for the beach this summer. LOL. Actually, I want to get a jump on this stuff now.

You are correct, it was the 'lawyer-type stuff' that tripped me up last time. I won't let it hold me back this time.

Plus, I've learned quite a bit more about taxes in the last 13 years since I sat for the tax court exam. If you're not green and growing, you're brown and rotting.

I also just read the EA Journal article by the unsuccessful candidate. Even though she didn't pass, she did learn a lot along the way. That's got to count for SOMETHING in her professional life. It did mine.

MorrowTax (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2011
Just read that EA Journal article, and it actually has me looking forward to the experience!

BelRedCPA (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2011
Maybe this isn't helpful or interesting but...

When I got my masters in tax from GGU, the procedures class was talk by Murrary Falk, a retired, very well known and highly respected California tax attorney and former Special Tax Court Judge... (I think Murray still teaches the course--and he's really excellent btw...)

I remember Murray talking in class informally about the test... and the passage rates are very, very, very, very low... In comparison, passing the EA, CPA or Bar exam look like kindergarten...

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2011
I've glanced over some old exams. I don't think that the Tax Court Bar is much different in difficulty than the average State Bar exam but keep in mind; people writing the State Bar have usually finished a three-year full time or four-year part time degree program in law. Yet not everyone passes their State Bar exam, far from it. I think that, overall, something like 25% of first-time takers fail each year nationwide. And almost all of the applicants have taken a Bar exam prep course in addition to earning their J.D. degrees at ABA approved law schools.

Just looking at the California Bar stats, failure rates on the California General Bar Exam for non-graduates of ABA or CBE approved law schools are as low as the pass rate on the Tax Court Bar exam.

What made me clutch at my chest and stagger back wasn't the lawyer stuff; it was the depth of the tax knowledge required.

All this has me thinking that a law-school-pattern formal resident program might help a lot. OTOH, it would also cost a lot, maybe more than the Tax Court license is worth?

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2011
Honestly, I think it would cost more than the license is worth. FWIW, I almost never use my Tax Bar license (although I do threaten to go to Tax Court often enough, which sometimes helps) except to file a petition to get the case kicked back down to appeals when the RA refuses to issue a 30-day letter and/or my client refuses to extend even a (generally limited) 872. As Kevin notes, for someone who already has substantial representation work, it may be worth it. However, the vast majority of clients don't want to litigate in tax court and most tax controversies are resolved at audit or at appeals. Still, for someone with the type (and volume) of representation business and experience that I expect Kevin or DaveFogel have, I think it makes sense.

For someone that's just starting out, I really think a CPA, tax LLM, etc... is the way to go if you want to further credential yourself. Otherwise, you're looking at a very low pass rate (especially compared to experienced tax pros like Kevin) on an exam that is offered once every two years in DC. Once you pass, unless you have the representation business already or have an established reputation in the community, very few people will even know that they have the option to choose you over a tax lawyer (after all, it is Tax Court). The journey alone is certainly worth something, but from a purely business development standpoint, I'd go a different route for you Morrow. Just my 2 cents.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2011
Well, all true, but then, a credible threat to litigate carries some leverage, I'm sure.

I'm wondering whether, when I retire and set up as an enrolled agent doing IRS representation, whether I need to maintain my law license in order to keep my Tax Court license active? For every other federal court, the answer is "yes" but T.C. is a different animal. You don't have to be a lawyer to get the license and being a lawyer (arguably) does no more than waive the exam. Buuuut...that doan sound right, 'zactly, do it? Maybe they'd make me write the exam myself? (Shudder)

MorrowTax (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2011
I appreciate the input, it's starting to appear that this may be a bear I'm not ready to tackle just yet. I will however position myself to do this at some point in time. Thanks again for all of the advice!

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2011
Always happy to provide a (hopefully well reasoned) opinion, Morrow.

I think you can be an EA in Tax Court even with an inactive law license, so long as you were previously admitted to practice. The certificate from the Clerk just says that you've "fulfilled the requirements of this Court, having taken the oath and being duly qualified." As EAs can practice before the Tax Court, I'd imagine that you would remain "duly qualified" to practice. I've done absolutely no research on this, but my gut says that since non-lawyers can practice in Tax Court, being a lawyer simply allows you to waive the exam.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2011
I think your "gut" is correct. I hope so, anyway, because the State Bar has made keeping an active law license into an expensive and burdensome thing.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2011
"I think your "gut" is correct. I hope so, anyway, because the State Bar has made keeping an active law license into an expensive and burdensome thing."

I couldn't agree more. The State Bar of Georgie took over the old Federal Reserve building in downtown Atlanta. At the time, they declared it was the solution to all future growth contingencies. Well, since then they have opened up two deluxe "satillite" offices.

You go down to the Bar office in the Atlanta and even the secretaries and clerks dress better than the lawyers who are paying the dues. I'm serious when I say this. I actually wonder if the staff down there gets a clothing allowance.

What really burns me up is the quality of a lot of the CLE I take today. We used to get excellent manuals (or disks) with the courses. Now, the State Bar associated ICLE just copies Powerpoint presentations into the manuals in many instances. The cost of the courses has almost tripled and the qaulity has gone down.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

10 September 2011
I am an attorney who has been just doing tax work as an EA (enrolled agent) because the work is easier and IRS likes EAs (most Eas are retired IRS employees) so on the practitioner hotline asking questions I get faster response as an EA. I almost hate to admit this, but I worked for H&R Crock for over 20 years just making extra money while I was raising kids, and back then if you took all their courses you got a pretty good tax education. Thus for just steady income preparation work pays regular. Representation work is much more difficult to find clients for---but a good client pays a lot. One of the other reasons for working as an EA instead of as attorney is that the E&O insurance is MUCH CHEAPER. Now, I want to take the tax court exam in November of 2012 and I'd like to buy the study material used from someone who has taken one of these courses. Having already passed two bar exams, I figure I can pick up the USTC lingo with just the material and not the paying of a teacher to take me through the course. This post will probably anger the people teaching the courses---but good grief they are charging between $1,345.00 to $7,500.00 for the study guides---that is way to expensive. Somebody out there who has this material wants to sell their used material, so how and where do I find you?

Rally180 (talk|edits) said:

10 September 2011
I would dispute the facts that most EA's are retired IRS employees and that as an EA you would get a faster response from the practitioner priority line. Maybe there is a secret number to press but, I am unaware of it.

What work is easier as an EA?

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

10 September 2011
Representative before the IRS in multi-states.

No Bar Exam.

No CPA Exam.

The work is the work.

I would suggest doing the California first year law courses. It will help to no end.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

10 September 2011
It's even possible to do first year law courses online from various California correspondence law schools.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

12 September 2011
Taxjoy, if you are an attorney, why would you need to take the Tax Court Exam for Non-Attorneys?

Rally180 (talk|edits) said:

12 September 2011
Representative before the IRS in multi-states is like saying driving a police car is easier if you are a cop. That is not how I read taxjoys's statement.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

15 September 2011
About the difference in identity between EAs and Attorneys---have you worked with attorneys lately......I became one by going to night school "free" because I scholarshiped into a cheap western regionally approved law school to use the student loan money to pay for a divorce. I didn't want to be an attorney in the beginning because of the average attorney has their whole ego involved in being an attorney. Then I proved I could pass Bar courses---but working as an attorney cost a whole lot of money (the average attorney makes over $120,000.00 and nets less than $38,000.00 and in California currently over 27% of all attorneys are not in compliance on tax filing and paying IRS----if attorneys lost their licenses for not being in tax compliance or owing on their taxes--California would lose over 25% of the licensed attorneys)........now since EAs don't have to have the college, the CPA license and years of audit practice apprenticeship, and EAs do have the toughest tax exam (unless they are retired IRS---last statistic I heard was that 51% of EA are grandfathered in IRS. Anyways, I absolutely find the IRS personal manning the practitioner hotline kinder, the Settlement Officers in CDP hearing more willing allow clients to get stuff together and way more likely to give a reasonable settlement in audit to an EA where they all like to stomp on attorneys saying "You're an attorney getting the big bucks ---why isn't everything perfect". Answer, the clients are just as difficult, dumb, incompetent, stuborn, and delusional whether you are an EA or an Attorney----so why play the attorney card until the last moment when somebody says ---so what are you going to do----go to court you or your client can afford an attorney----then you pull out the attorney card. Also, I think studying for the tax court exam will make me prepared to go to court as either Ea or Attorney and besides that -----how the do you learn to go to tax court if you are not apprenticed in by some experienced attorney. Ok my best help to date has come from the ASTPS "American Society of Tax Problem Solvers" who are the only group IRS has certified as having a "Tax Specialist" program that IRS recognizes. ASTPS has programs for training how to be do Representaation work. The best cheapest book I've found usedfull in the American law Institute ABAS approved book "Dealing with the IRS ; Law, Forms, and Practice---by Theodore M. Dasvid. Also see TaxMama.com website. and a bunch more stuff......now there is some good advice for all you experts......Now, let talk money and monitorizing the talk.......I have lots of stuff including some of Cheryl Gregory now Travato's stuff from National Association of EAs which she is currently President of------------I am disgusted by the low level of real knowledge I have encountered so far in everyone selling the study guid material with their ridiculous prices of $1,345.00 for Maxstaxs to the new one in Illnois that wants $8,000.00. So, what I want to do is get together a private study group to share stuff, study together and get prepared without having our pockets fleeced by people who play organizational politics and have never been in a real court room in their life. I thi9nk a requirement for teaching the tax court course should be that the teacher has actually been in tax court, not just passed the exam or just sent in one or two small dollar cases that were immediately settled. So, lets have some real responses out there---anyone got study material they want to copy and swap and talk elsewhere about how to study.......And for you information there are three states in US that allow people to take bar without going to law school---New York, California, and i think Montans---look it up on line----one of my office workers is currently studying with me for tax court and in office study for the California Bar---------because I do know the tax court sections on evidence and ethics are the exact same stuff as on the first year bar exam and the Professional responsibility exam(PRE) for all 50 states. Now, I just retook the PRE(ethics) exam for licensing in Nevada (Nevada Corporation and trust do not have reciprocality with IRS which causes a huge number of people to have their corporation licensed in NV thus lots of hi9gh level tax work related to NV and NV is stickler for licensing. The good news is that I got everything I needed to pass the PRE on line mostly at Amozon for $12.00 for flash cards (the best way to study ethics questions), books , outlines----I spend less than 39 dollars and passed with flying colors at over the mean score. Now, let's get together and do that on the USTC exam.Taxjoy

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

15 September 2011
About the difference in identity between EAs and Attorneys---have you worked with attorneys lately......I became one by going to night school "free" because I scholarshiped into a cheap western regionally approved law school to use the student loan money to pay for a divorce. I didn't want to be an attorney in the beginning because of the average attorney has their whole ego involved in being an attorney. Then I proved I could pass Bar courses---but working as an attorney cost a whole lot of money (the average attorney makes over $120,000.00 and nets less than $38,000.00 and in California currently over 27% of all attorneys are not in compliance on tax filing and paying IRS----if attorneys lost their licenses for not being in tax compliance or owing on their taxes--California would lose over 25% of the licensed attorneys)........now since EAs don't have to have the college, the CPA license and years of audit practice apprenticeship, and EAs do have the toughest tax exam (unless they are retired IRS---last statistic I heard was that 51% of EA are grandfathered in IRS. Anyways, I absolutely find the IRS personal manning the practitioner hotline kinder, the Settlement Officers in CDP hearing more willing allow clients to get stuff together and way more likely to give a reasonable settlement in audit to an EA where they all like to stomp on attorneys saying "You're an attorney getting the big bucks ---why isn't everything perfect". Answer, the clients are just as difficult, dumb, incompetent, stuborn, and delusional whether you are an EA or an Attorney----so why play the attorney card until the last moment when somebody says ---so what are you going to do----go to court you or your client can afford an attorney----then you pull out the attorney card. Also, I think studying for the tax court exam will make me prepared to go to court as either Ea or Attorney and besides that -----how the do you learn to go to tax court if you are not apprenticed in by some experienced attorney. Ok my best help to date has come from the ASTPS "American Society of Tax Problem Solvers" who are the only group IRS has certified as having a "Tax Specialist" program that IRS recognizes. ASTPS has programs for training how to be do Representaation work. The best cheapest book I've found usedfull in the American law Institute ABAS approved book "Dealing with the IRS ; Law, Forms, and Practice---by Theodore M. Dasvid. Also see TaxMama.com website. and a bunch more stuff......now there is some good advice for all you experts......Now, let talk money and monitorizing the talk.......I have lots of stuff including some of Cheryl Gregory now Travato's stuff from National Association of EAs which she is currently President of------------I am disgusted by the low level of real knowledge I have encountered so far in everyone selling the study guid material with their ridiculous prices of $1,345.00 for Maxstaxs to the new one in Illnois that wants $8,000.00. So, what I want to do is get together a private study group to share stuff, study together and get prepared without having our pockets fleeced by people who play organizational politics and have never been in a real court room in their life. I thi9nk a requirement for teaching the tax court course should be that the teacher has actually been in tax court, not just passed the exam or just sent in one or two small dollar cases that were immediately settled. So, lets have some real responses out there---anyone got study material they want to copy and swap and talk elsewhere about how to study.......And for you information there are three states in US that allow people to take bar without going to law school---New York, California, and i think Montans---look it up on line----one of my office workers is currently studying with me for tax court and in office study for the California Bar---------because I do know the tax court sections on evidence and ethics are the exact same stuff as on the first year bar exam and the Professional responsibility exam(PRE) for all 50 states. Now, I just retook the PRE(ethics) exam for licensing in Nevada (Nevada Corporation and trust do not have reciprocality with IRS which causes a huge number of people to have their corporation licensed in NV thus lots of hi9gh level tax work related to NV and NV is stickler for licensing. The good news is that I got everything I needed to pass the PRE on line mostly at Amozon for $12.00 for flash cards (the best way to study ethics questions), books , outlines----I spend less than 39 dollars and passed with flying colors at over the mean score. Now, let's get together and do that on the USTC exam.Taxjoy

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

15 September 2011
Seriously? More than half of all EAs got licensed through IRS experience? I'd never have guessed.

Okay...I am well known around here for being denser than most so bear with me...I do not understand why you need to take the Tax Court Bar exam. You say you went to Western State when it was a California Bar accredited school and that you are now a California licensed attorney. The Tax Court Bar exam should be WAIVED for you. In fact, they should forbid you to take it. It does not matter which state's law license you hold and it does not matter whether your law school was ABA approved. The Tax Court license, like the EA license, is valid nationwide.

I must be missing something; what am I missing?

Oh, and you can add Washington State to your list of states that allow one to become an attorney without going to law school. It's a VERY good deal if you can set it up.

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
He doesn't have to take it, but he seems to actually WANT to take it. "I think studying for the tax court exam will make me prepared to go to court as either Ea or Attorney and besides that -----how the do you learn to go to tax court if you are not apprenticed in by some experienced attorney."

The apprenticing deal is a great perk and I'd love to do it for a paralegal who wanted to be a lawyer without paying the $100,000+ that it costs now to go almost anywhere worthwhile. Granted, in most states, it is very time consuming for the supervising lawyer (in VA, they have to "read law" in your law office for 25 hours a week for 40 weeks a year for three years). I think you have to also provide timesheets and give exams, so it's not easy to do. There are some public schools left that have relatively low tuition (UNC, Iowa, UGA, UF), but most are at least $30k a year in tuition alone now. Even all of the UCs are now almost 40k a year for law school, so much for a solid "public" education. Too bad I'm not in Virginia anymore.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
The Washington State Bar clerk program is kind of interesting, too. The whole process is monitored closely by the Bar itself. They have a very good Bar exam pass rate but there are never more than one or two who complete the program.

Dean Langdell of Hahvahd Law did the U.S. legal system a serious disservice when he created our University-dominated graduate school legal training model. Giving ABA-approved law schools a near-monopoly was wrong-headed from the beginning.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
They need a warning painted on the side of law schools like the warning on cigarette packs. When a young person mentions to me they've been admitted to law school, the first thing I do is tell them to take all the bankruptcy classes they can.

You guys see this about the Villanova scandal? http://studentpwns.com/2011/02/04/villanova-law-dean-admits-school-lied-aba-admissions-stats/

I think Villanova has to post a warning on it's website as part of a settlement with the ABA.

Unless you are going to a top 10 law school, and plan (ahead of time, lol) to graduate in the top 10% of your class, don't waste your time.

Georgia is pretty strict about disciplining lawyers and we are disbarring them in droves now. This usually boils down to money troubles and the dishonesty that springs from that.

P.S. Admissions page on the Villanova site, note required disclosure: http://www.law.villanova.edu/Admissions.aspx

I always predicted that when the smart students knew better than to attend law school they'd let in the less qualified students to fill the seats. This is terrible trend for the future of the profession.

PollyAdler (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
Yohooo! Preacher Crow!

The National Consumer Law Center publishes a book for lawyers called: Student Loan Law. It's grim reading.

I'd make a nice gift for a law graduate as well as a copy their Consumer Bankruptcy book. In fact, these make a great gift for most college graduates today.

It will certainly sober you up when you realize that they can garnish your SS check.

http://shop.consumerlaw.org/studentloanlaw.aspx

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
Why, when I went to my state university's law school, I paid $388/semester. Same as a Ph.D. candidate in English. So when I got my diploma, I owed Sallie Mae about $15,000. I could afford to take state lawyer jobs for small salaries so the state benefited from its investment in me. I do NOT know where the State of California expects to find its new young lawyers. These kids can't afford state salaries even though they pay three times what my first job paid. The "user fee" approach is shortsighted.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
I was on another blog and a new law grad. posted. He had gone to a state law school and he had $117,000.00 in loans and no job. What a way to start life. I would say 70% of the graduates of average law schools are without an offer today, but it's just a guess. What do you guys think?

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
Well, at least half are jobless but it depends where you are. NYC is hideously overlawyered and the job market has actually contracted over the last 3-4 years. And they keep pumping them out, too. Ditto Boston, L.A. Chicago, like that. But flyover country DOES have jobs for new lawyers. Trouble is, we can't pay enough for these kids to eat, pay rent, clothe themselves, and still pay Sallie Mae. $50,000 to start just doesn't cut it. Too, to be perfectly frank, some of these kids still show lingering traces of the entitlement mentality and can't imagine NOT living in NYC, Boston, L.A. or Chicago. Some, but by no means all.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
Perhaps one postive outcome of the increase in education costs is that students and parents will pay more attention to the actual employment figures.

I received the biggest shock of my life when I was leaving the GA State Univ. Law Library and I saw an artist's rendering of their proposed new law school in the lobby. Their law school has only been around since 1987 (this is in downtown Atlanta). I don't know if construction was pre-funded or whether it's been cut by now due to budget concerns. There is no justification for this new building in my opinion, but the administrators must figure they can fill the seats.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

16 September 2011
I don't think very many law schools are suffering any budgetary crisis at all, Crow. The steep rise in tuition and rapid construction/expansion are at least partly the result of Universities starting to see law schools as cash cows. Yet, despite tuition levels that make no financial sense even 'if' you get the (increasingly rare) six figure job at Craven, Swine, & Less, there is no shortage of applicants. Judging by falling bar exam pass rates, there may be a shortage of well-qualified students but not of students willing to mortgage their lives for the glories of lawyerhood.

Another sign of the mendacity and greed of the legal education complex is the proliferation of new LL.M. programs, all in arcane areas with doubtful practice demand and all hideously expensive. There's never the slightest market research done to see what, if any, additional employability possessing an LL.M. in, say, Avian Ecology Law might convey but the kids line up to spend an unpaid year of their lives and take out $35,000 in student loans on the off chance that the degree will make them "stand out".

Right.

I chose Taft Law for my master's because it is accredited and cost me under seven grand and I didn't have to quit work or move. No student loans. Tuition was roughly one/fourth what I'd have paid for the cheapest LL.M. in Tax from an ABA approved school, exclusive of other costs. The degree will meet my needs very nicely even if I DID fall into the CPA exam trap...

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
I know that NALP states that 65% of graduates who have passed the bar are practicing law. NALP traditionally overshoots the mark, as it is so heavily BIGLAW focused and the real number is likely around half. I believe that the national bar passage rate is somewhere around 70%, so if only 70% pass the bar and half of those can find jobs as lawyers, that's a whopping 35% that actually practice as lawyers. I'd be willing to bet that a good 1/3rd of those people have taken sub-optimal jobs and are looking to move to a better job when the economy picks up. Some small percentages of the graduates who passed the bar, but aren't working in the legal field, likely have good jobs in industry, government, academia etc... An even smaller percentage of non-bar passers might also have decent jobs lined up somehow. I'd say that about half have relatively good job prospects, although for the ones who didn't pass the bar or aren't working in legal jobs, I imagine that they had good job prospects before they went to law school and are about $100,000+ poorer for it.

Sure, some may be able to wait tables and eventually get a high-quality law job, but most won't (especially those that do not pass the bar). If we assume that the average law student goes to school in a major city, they will likely have living expenses of at least $1,500 month. Factor in my "cheap" tuition at a solid state school (such as UGA or UNC) and we're still looking at $20k+ a year in tuition and books. No wonder they graduate owing $100,000+ from a state school. If you owe that much, there's just no way to ever pay that down by working in flyover country. If you manage to get a job paying $50,000, you'll be lucky to earn enough to service the loan and touch a small amount of the principal after all of your other expenses. I think if you owe $120,000, you'll need to make monthly payments of $1,500 to pay the loan off in 10 years. You might be able to do that, as you'll have about $43k or so after taxes. 43k - 18k in debt servicing and you have $25k a year to live off of, assuming you went in-state. I don't even want to think about the out-of-state and private school numbers.

The sad thing is, most undergrads who go to law school are at least smarter than the average student and if they had just studied engineering, accounting, nursing etc..., they could be making over $50k a year already by their fourth year at work (assuming they spent the 3 years at work instead of law school). Not only would they have three years of experience in a field that has decent demand, but they would have likely earned $40-50k a year instead of paying $20k to go to law school (I consider the living expenses to be a wash, since you have to pay for that anyway). Once you factor in interest at 6.8 and 8.5%, you can easily see how this is a quarter-million dollar mistake.

I try to steer everyone I know away from law school unless either (1) their family is filled with lawyers who can get them a job, (2) they get in to a top 14 (or maybe top 25) school, (3) they get a significant scholarship that covers half of the tuition at a top 100 school, or (4) get a full scholarship somewhere else. If they were a liberal arts major, I might relax those standards a little bit, because it's not like they're going into petroleum engineering or anything remotely lucrative. Outside of the Tax LLM, the LLMs are all jokes. I've never seen a non-tax job posting require (or even prefer) an LLM holder in "Human Diversity Law" or "Space Law".

I think there's no shortage of applicants because there's no where else for these kids to go. They were all fed the BS line about a liberal arts degree being "versatile" and will surprisingly be gullible enough to believe the same thing about a law degree. They can't get jobs as they are, as that projected shortage of humanities students (*eyeroll*) has still not materialized and the economy is in the dumps, so even entry-level jobs that were secure (such as teaching) are now gone. Moral of the story: tell your kids to become a petroleum engineer. I think the average grad with that major earns $90k starting out, which is fantastic. I have a friend who hires for Exxon and he says that even at $90k, they can't find enough qualified applicants because most schools (outside of TX) don't even offer it as a degree. It's not like we're going to give up our oil addition in the next 50 years, so it should make for a good career. With no student loans and high pay, you should be able to retire at 50 anyway. The median salary tops out at $120,000 a year (which is also higher than most lawyers), see: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2011-05-23-College-majors-engineering-higher-education_n.htm.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
"engineering, accounting, nursing"


All degrees that require actual discipline because they involve math, science, or heavy analytical thinking where there are actual wrong answers. Making airy-fairy remarks about Jane Austin or the Human Condition Today is a lot easier and lends itself to BSing all the way through school. Some parts of law study also require mental discipline...the most demanding classes I took in law school were in tax. But a lot of it was just about as squishy as the comparative religions class I took as an undergrad.

Most of these kids would have done better to finish a welding or electrical apprenticeship right out of High School. Welding and electricity ALSO require disciplined learning (everything remotely useful does) but they'd end up with no debt and a solid trade.

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
I agree that college has been way oversold. There may be 250 or so universities that actually deserve the name, but many (especially in the for-profit industry) impart a worse education than a decent suburban highschool. The German system of having tracks works much better; how many mechanics and plumbers have to wait tables because there isn't enough work in their field? I'd bet dollars to donuts that the average mechanic/plumber/electrician earns more than the average liberal arts major these days and the mechanic can read Kant on his own time without working the second shift at the McJob.

I was just reading this story about Antioch College and its resurrection after closing (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/can-antioch-college-return-from-the-dead-again.html?src=recg). One of the courses offered was “Queer Animals,” a "look at wildlife through the lens of queer theory." I was floored. I can't imagine why the students aren't lining up in droves.

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
Talk about timely. See http://balkin.blogspot.com/2011/09/sobering-numbers-law-graduates-who-do.html. The worst offender seems to be UDC, which only places 27% of its graduates in jobs that require a JD. The numbers are a little bit higher than my definition of a "law job" as these jobs do not require actual bar admission and the survey is conducted 9 months after graduation. Also, I believe that these numbers include those who have hung up a shingle and are graciously considered "self-employed."

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
They should be required to post those numbers over the entrance to the school.

The basket weavers have better prospects (much better prospects).

The profession of law requires a strong middle class to pay the bill. Most lawyers don't do work for the Fortune 500.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
Wouldn't matter if they DID post the numbers, Crow. Every one of these kids who are willing to borrow $150,000 to go to any law school not in the Top Three firmly believes that HE (or SHE) is that Special Snowflake who will land the one six-figure job that will go to the entire graduating class that year. Worse, I've actually seen kids borrow over $200,000 for a J.D. from a Top Fourteen school...even IF the kid gets the Wall Street job, the salary is STILL too low to justify borrowing that much.

No financial sense. If they could do numbers, they'd be engineers, nurses or accountants.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
That's true. Also, I noticed that some schools on the list had higher numbers. Why? Because many of these students who do graduate are self-employed and living off air. It's hard to eat air, yet they will report that they are employed.

I would try to avoid any profession in America that relied too heavily on the middle class for customers. Medicine is an exception due to insurance (for now anyway). As you know there is legal insurance....I pity the lawyer who tries to live off of it.

I don't think many of these people being laid off in the thousands will ever have a middle class job again.

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
At least the top fourteen schools will (generally) get you a lucrative job. The NYT ran a story a short while ago about a third-tier school that gives roughly half of its students large scholarships. Those same students have to maintain a 3.0 GPA to keep their scholarship. I'm sure all those students are thinking "hey, I'm smart, they even offered me a big scholarship and I have a 3.9 in political science right now, how hard can a 3.0 be?" They don't tell these students that the school grades on a hard curve of 2.66 and some students have alleged that the school places all of the scholarship students in two of the four sections, making it impossible for most to make the cut. A bait and switch that would make a used car salesman proud.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
Plus there's been MAJOR grade inflation at the UG level and almost NONE in law school. Guess what, boys and girls? You will work your tail off just to keep above a 3.0 gpa in law school. There's a reason that a "C" is passing. Competition is nothing short of grim, brutal and determined. Two thirds of law students don't break or remain above 3.0. I'm pretty bright in school yet I barely cracked 3.0 overall and graduated holding onto the top third of my class by my fingernails. It hasn't gotten easier.

So the kids coming in are completely clueless (which kids usually are, come to think of it.)

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
A banana republic cannot support a strong professional class. This will continue and accelerate.

A few years back, they would retrain the 50 year old postal worker to do computer work. It might have been a middle class job. Now the computer job is outsourced overnight, or we import a computer worker (or programmer) under the fraudulent H1-B program.

Last week, the postal service announced it will be laying off 30-40K. Many of these people are middle class. BOA annouced layoffs of 5K. This is mainly structural and understandable (due to better technology). State and local governments are just at the beginning of what will be a massive, long term period of layoffs.

Not that long ago, the Postal Service ran neck and neck with Walmart for numbers employed. You can't lose this many permanent middle class jobs and not pay a price. This is on top of other postal service layoffs and it will continue.

What is different today is that because we've made dumb policy mistakes over many years, many of these people will never enter the middle class again. Even some economists are willfully blind to this last fact. They won't be for long.

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
I think we're more or less screwed no matter what we do. Jobs will continue to leave America until it costs the same to manufacture something here as it does in China or India (I think the eggheads call this "wage convergence"). While Bush certainly didn't help, there's nothing that he or Obama can realistically do to stem the tide. The average American worker just isn't 10-20x more productive than the average Chinese or Indian worker. First, IT was decimated for years, now they're doing white-collar jobs such as doc review, bookkeeping, reading radiographs etc... At least they can't outsource you if you're a mechanic or plumber.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
I think the changes due to technology are bigger than changes brought about by the so-called industrial revolution (it was actually an idustrial evolution).

The problem is that the US has shot itself in the foot over many years with policy mistakes in addition to the structural problem. We are on course now to continue these policy mistakes.

The wealthiest Americans and the largest American corporations are now citizens of the world. The largest corporations get their profits from overseas. They could care less. They won, we lost due to our own stupidity. It does no good to incentivize people who have already won the race (by far).

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
There are a couple of economists out there who suggest that the Great Recession is more like the Great Depression than it is like the usual post-WWII downturn because this time, the economy is actually reordering itself at a fundamental level. The GD was the last convulsion of the Iron Age so to speak. The GR is the last convulsion of the Factory Labor Era. When we recover, we won't look anything like we did before the Crash.

We still manufacture here in the U.S. but we don't need factory hands anymore to do it. And factory hands now includes white collar workers and their associated management. So what will these people do?

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 September 2011
NMex, the idea is that these people will repair the robots, they will repair the technology. Now, let me ask you a question, did you buy an extended warranty for your TV? Probably not. Electronics are a lot more dependable today because they use less power/heat, and they will continue to get better.

It's more than just re-ordering on a fundamental level. We could deal with such changes if we had not been tricked into making serious policy mistakes since the early '80s. We are now set to continue such mistakes.

I'll also be laughing up my sleeve when it finally dawns on most Americans that the cell phone economy (yap, yap) is just as fake as the green economy.

But the biggest American corporations and the wealthiest Americans.......don't care. They don't have to care. We rolled out the red carpet for them and they took us up on it. The rest of us are left behind, but many aren't aware of it yet.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

20 September 2011
Getting back to the OPs topic, I just spoke with Sherrill Trovato (we're both speaking at the OSSEA conference) at dinner. I'm convinced I should take her class - it will be worth it to pass. No, Taxjoy, I won't make copies of and share anybody's copyrighted materials (if that's what you're asking). I don't know how you even would ask that on a public forum.

http://taxcourtexam.com/index.html is Sherrill's site (I know I've given it in a prior discussion, but here it is again.) She is starting up the class in November, a discounted price applies for those who register now. She didn't have her registration materials up when I spoke with her at the NAEA conference last month.

As far as taking a course designed to help you pass an exam and thinking that the course will actually prepare you for going to tax court, that is kind of like taking a course to help you pass the EA exam and then saying you are now qualified to do corporate returns. An exam prep course is just that - a course to help you pass an exam. For those who are CPAs, did taking the Becker course (or whatever exam prep course you took) prepare you for the real work that a CPA does?

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

20 September 2011
None of the prep courses help you in actual practice very much, but you're right Kevin, they only focus on ensuring that you pass the exam. I'm sure the theory is "hey, these people need to become a licensed attorney/cpa/ea so that they can THEN practice, so let's ensure that they pass first and they'll learn the ropes as they go along." I don't think there's too much of a focus on the small demographic that takes these exam prep courses, but only more or less for their own edification. If you're going to take a prep course for an exam, presumably you care more about actually passing the exam than learning tertiary things that may be helpful in practice but useless on the exam.

I think many people are unaware of the way the copyright system works with regards to study materials. For example, I can go and purchase all of the Gleim CPA review books at the local book store and later give them away or sell them to a local student. There's nothing stopping me from transferring those copyrighted materials, I purchased the book and I own it. It's no different than an organic chemistry textbook. There are similar resale markets for video games and other materials such as gamestop. With Sherrill's materials, I'm guessing that you actually sign an agreement indicating that you are purchasing a license to use the materials (similar to Becker). This is similar to most Microsoft products, where you simply own a non-transferable license to use Office, you don't actually own a copy of Office and they can revoke your license at any time. If you want to transfer your license, Microsoft will usually oblige you but charge you a fee.

Unfortunately, no third parties are on notice that you cannot transfer the materials because they are licensed. If someone purchases Becker from ebay, he doesn't know that he cannot purchase Becker like he could purchase someone's Gleim materials. After all, the only parties to the contract are Becker and the Seller, most people are unaware that you have to sign a contract before you can buy anything from Becker. The purchaser hasn't breached anything, because he has no agreement with Becker and he could not have known that Becker has this wierd licensing system for its books (which is why Becker NEVER unbundles its books/lectures). I'm guessing that Taxjoy figured it was similar to a political science class with two textbooks. If Crow and Norm each purchase a textbook and swap books throughout the course (instead of each purchasing one of each textbooks), that's perfectly fine. I agree that you can't make copies between strangers as Taxjoy is proposing, that seems more analogous to impermissable filesharing than the sale of an item that you own. However, if no licenses were involved, then swapping materials should be fine if no copies are made (all big if's). Then again, I'm no copyright lawyer and these rules change all the time, so who knows?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

20 September 2011
Even if there is no license for use, the only ways I know of to share print media with people in disparate locations is to either

1) mail the materials to the next person on the list after you are finished with them


2) copy them


I don't see how you can have a discussion if you do number 1. Everyone isn't on the same page.


Now if these items were in electronic format with a license allowing file sharing, perhaps you could host a web conference and all read the material at the same time.

Copying an electronic file is usually still out of the question.

In my opinion, to not violate any copyright laws, everyone should purchase their own material. THEN you can have a study session. Sherrill has a list of recommended study material on her site. Even if you don't take her course, you should look at the items she recommends. They can be purchased on Amazon.com or at Gleim. I've already purchased my copies.

I would be glad to join a study group with others who have purchased those items or similar.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

20 September 2011
FWIW, Kevin and anyone else taking the TC Bar exam...if you are confused about an ethics, evidence or procedure question and you want to discuss it, I will be very pleased to send you my personal e mail. I will also discuss substantive tax questions but it's very unlikely that you won't already know more than I do about those.

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

20 September 2011
I agree. From a practical perspective, a study session where people don't purchase their own materials will only legally work if (1) the group is local enough that you can all actually physically meet and (2) mail the materials to the next person on the list and then discuss everything after you have both read both books, which would seem very inefficient. Then again, the numbers from Sherrill's website indicate that 6-8 people pass every year, which means that the pass rate is very abysmal, as I've always heard that between 100-200 people take the exam every two years. That's like the old Japanese bar exam, which had a 4% or so pass rate, so I'd take any help I could get.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

20 September 2011
s for material for the US Tax Court Exam---I'll be heading to law libraries as the year proceeds-----and I'll tell you what I find when I get there. But for the moment I've down loaded all the exams-----past from Starkman's site. I'm beginning to answer the exam questions as best I can----then as I go through the year seeing people who have passed the test I'll ask them questions that I think I have weak answers on------I'll be checking in with the book materials and web stuff I find........anyone find it unethical to start exchanging answers to old Tax Court Exam Questions? the tax court publishes the old exams----so obviously doing the exams yourself and looking up the material is one way to get this information ---with out paying someone $1,345.00 to $8,000.00 and since I've had more experience in court.......than either ms. Gregory-travato, Starkman , Ms. Maxstaxs, etc. anyone want to join in sharing answers to old tax questions----or shall I pass it for fun and then sell the course for $10,000.00 or $1,000.00Taxjoy

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

21 September 2011
Sorry accidently earsed beginning of my share. I just bought for $7.00used copy of lester ponder "US tax Court and procedures' 1976 edition---appears new update copy is $695.00 so I can read old version go to law library and check new updates as well as updates on Bar Court Site. Also, have to start watching the bar court cases and getting some journal of Tax court ---important decisions...This is the stuff I'm looking for ---guides to which cses are important...it is all public information just how to efficiently put it together?Taxjoy 00:13, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

21 September 2011
Sorry, Taxjoy, but I still don't "get" why you need to do this. If it is just a question of the challenge, hey, I understand that, I'm fool enough to take the CPA exam just because the Golden State told me I could. But really, friend, do you NEED to do this to yourself? I look upon it almost as self-scarification! (Sorry, Kevin, I don't mean YOU.)

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

21 September 2011
Unless your Calbar license is inactive...I guess I could see it then but really, it's a LOT easier to reactivate an inactive California license than to take this beast!

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

21 September 2011
Guys, you appear to be scaring yourselves----how about the fun of a challenge and learning---purpose---I study tax stuff all the time, I'm working on an LLM which bores me--with the pedantics of the professors---I want this feather in my cap so I can laugh at those who are scared. the test is 3 hours long ----that is easy----that is like the simplification of the CPA exam down from 2.5 days of hell with two 3 hours sessions with huge accounting paper doing balance sheets for practice to just one session of multiple choice exams-----are you all under 40 and takers of the dumbed down SAT ---in the old days of Viet Nam we studed for the joy of studying and because there was so much competition that you had to study really hard---it has been a life long thing with me to study hard----more relaxing to study and write than deal with client's sob stories-------all I want now is the big cases so I want to make my name now in the tax court....and I need to know all about it----so I'm starting to read. sitting in a boring review class with a not very knowledgeable lecturer who never passed a bar exam, doesn't know law, and wants to impress with her great achievemaent of passing this one little 3 hour exam-----OH this is going to be fun.

Flybynight (talk|edits) said:

21 September 2011
I'm sure that you'll learn a lot, but much of the time spent will be learning how to take the test. For example, while I learned a lot taking the CPA exam, I would have learned even more if I just took some quality CPE during that time. Additionally, the CPE would have actually had practical use. I'm not saying that it won't help, but that if it's your primary goal, it may be a highly inefficient way of going about things. Additionally, quality prep materials aren't free. Last I checked, you can get all the CPE you can handle for a few hundred dollars in one of those "buffet" programs that are available. If I wanted to actually learn and didn't care about the credential, I would not take an exam because exam prep materials are designed, as Kevin said, to prepare you to pass an exam and not to prepare you to be an actual lawyer in tax court.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

21 September 2011
OK which Kevin and what material did he study----cause I intend to be studying the equivalent of CPE material---in fact it is from Sherril Gregory-Travato's 2 day presentation to NAEAs that I have my basic starting material from her lectures on how to represent your client before IRS up to the tax Court level. Then there are the materials on representation from lecture by tax attorney McKenzie that I took with NATPS 3 day How to Represent your client ---which included through the tax court.. Now I've bought mcKenzies book and both these lectures listed what they thought were most significant tax case to know in representation work-----however, I would not bother to really read the cases, take notes, and memorize them unless I have a goal---thus my goal to take the test----without paying outrageous amounts or listening to boring lectures for basic evidence, professional responsibility , and basic civil procedure which I know from two states Bar exams both past----and per Sherril Travato statement that the Tax Court is soooooooo hard becasue it takes its evidence and ethics questions right from the Multi State 50 State Wednesday part of national bar exam........so having conquered that ----why spook your selves saying ----OH HOW Hard!!!! If I can do something that will make my negotiating with IRS go better then I'll do it----because the bottom line is winning for the client and making money and those two things are the same thing. Still looking for people who have taken the test to exchange study material---that I am creating by starting to study:

SO WE CAN DO IT AND DO IT AND PASS NOVEMBER 12, 2011 AND YOU GUYS ARE CONVINCING ME THAT I CAN MAKE THIS FUN PROVING IT CAN BE FUN! Taxjoy

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

21 September 2011
oK TO THE GUYS WHO WANT TO EDIT----there is no reason to edit material from federal information sites---that is public information which is produced by our tax money---that is not stealing it is getting your worth from your tax money. Now, are you going to edit tax court case quotes? Which are definitely public domain they are used as case law---part of your law and government. Please, get your mind out of the gutter---not everyone steals, plagerizes, or cuts and pastes-----some of us old fashioned attorneys still write originainl stuff. We also tend to share, care, help, and make positive associations with other professionals. And some of the proof of writing a lot is that I write fast---get the information out ---take the notes---and secretaries or associates correct and then I do a final draft only for judges or for money clients. Have you seen any of Lincoln's notes to friends? They are barely readable. I'm here on this website in the spirt of sharing and so far in this chat room mostly I hear people who cannot commit to spending the money to take a course, but show no interest in exchanging the information about making studying easier and worthwhile with spending only the minimium on used books and law library xerox machines. I am about to list all the basic tax cases I think I have to learn for the Bar Court----anyone think that is a bad idea.Taxjoy

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

21 September 2011
Depends on your source. If you're using a paid research service to find the cases (like Lexis-Nexis or BNA) you'll find that copying info from there and posting it here violates the terms of your service agreement and could get your rights to use that paid research service revoked. It's also a violation of this site's contribution terms, which are linked in the upper right corner of the page. (It's a violation of the site's contribution terms for good reason, too - by posting it here, you actually get the owners of the site in trouble for copyright violations, which they don't much appreciate. Thus the earlier deletion of a long-form essay that was readily found on a private party website. A non-"federal information site," to be quite clear.)

Copying and pasting from sites like irs.gov, et al, no problem - but why not just link to the relevant sites? In fact, links to relevant court cases, with info about how they apply to particular tax situations, etc., is likely to garner you a lot more interest than trying to convince people to violate copyright agreements on CPE courses and other training material.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

22 September 2011
OK clear---no problem quoting or cutting from actual Tax court---but nothing from LexNex----published book volume of court decisions but nothing from annotated website----OK so what did you study Trillium---did you take somebodies class----and what is your favorite Tax representation book/research source for cases that may appear on the Tax court and which one should really have a basic knowledge of for representation? Know any on line schools for LLM which have a good Representation department?Taxjoy

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

22 September 2011
What's it cost to take the Tax Court test? How many bites of the apple do you get?

The best preparation is taking the test. Of course, I'm sure you need to study, but don't knock your brains out or put yourself in the poorhouse buying materials.

One thing you could do Taxjoy is just go to the Tax Questions page here and see how many questions you can answer. The tax part might be the hardest part for you. I realized pretty quickly when I got to TA that all I knew about tax was book learning and pretty worthless.

These people who peddle expensive test preparation are playing off peoples' nerves in many cases. Looking back many years I took BAR/BRI but I think it settled my nerves more than anything else. I felt I was "doing something".

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

22 September 2011
I know several people who have passed the exam and are USTCPs. They are all as brilliant as DaveFogel (who is a USTCP). They may not publish as many articles as he does, but they know their tax law just as well as he. Considering only 6 to 8 of the 200-300 who take the exam every two years pass (including those who have sat for the exam multiple times before), I think it highly wise to be as prepared as possible, otherwise you are wasting almost a year of your life.

I sat for the exam back in 1998, after taking Steve Diamond CPA's tax court exam prep course, but only passed 3 out of the 4 parts that year. I was obviously underprepared or I would have passed all four parts. To my memory, Taxjoy, there were NO multiple choice questions that year. All essay and show your work. While I passed the tax law portion with flying colors, I would have finished it sooner and with less anguish had I known more IRC cites, and fewer IRS Pub cites. Could you find the proper code section for ADS depreciation quickly in order to perform the calculations? That one took me some time, which is very precious during the exam.

If all you want to do is representation, and you have taken an ASTPS course, perhaps you would enjoy the NAEA's NTPI curriculum. It is a 3 year/level course to become a Fellow, then you may take Graduate level courses as you see fit. You will find that Sherrill Trovato and Bob McKenzie are on the faculty. You may have already been exposed to much of the content of their particular courses through the study you have already done.

Again, as everyone else has agreed, taking a tax court exam course is NOT going to adequately prepare you for an appearance in tax court.

Anyone who knows me, however, knows that I do enjoy the study, for the pure sake of knowledge. So I kind of get what you are after, Taxjoy, even though I still think it is a foolish endeavor to take an exam that you don't need to take, since you are an attorney already.

Good luck, should you decide to persue this for 'feather in your cap' reasons. There are many out there who look upon those of us with feathers in our caps as if we were strange birds. Hey, at least we flock together, so maybe we'll meet Nov 2012. I'll be the one shouting at the top of my lungs when I've finished writing my exam. If I have any energy left. Last time, I felt pretty drained. Hopefully I have grown a little wiser in the past 14 years.

P.S. I'm going to talk with a USTCP who took Sherrill's class and passed in 2008 tomorrow. He left a phone message today at the office, and he will be at the conference at which I will speak in the AM. I'm sure he will confirm that the investment in a good course and materials is worthwhile.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

22 September 2011
Good morning, has anyone else read the article in AccountingWorldNews.com today about the 5 myths of accountants blogging by Geni Whitehouse, CPA, CITP, CSPM is the Countess of Communication at Even a Nerd.com. Really funny. so, just to laugh my way around this topic-----I'm thinking of blogging my way through the USTCP exam laughing all the way, for the following reasons:
1.) I lived and worked in Waashington DC for 12 years and have lots of friends to visit there free--- 
2.) The test is cheap,
3.) The test only takes 3 hours of one's life,
4.) Studying for it will focus my mind and give me annoying purpose and direction--to bug my husband---don't bother me dear, I'm studying for the USTCP,
5.) It will bug a lot of stuffy "TAX PROFESSIONALS?" if someone passes not doing THE APPROVED WAY,
6.) It has already been fun discovering you doing this so far,
7.) I also write for TV and am working on a murder mystery series called Tax Lady---so I need new areas of wild tax stuff,
8.) One of you already said he was studying for the CPA and would post his grades---nothing makes me succeed like getting people betting against me (hint to all the frightened and timid---do it--live it--life is short---nothing ventured nothing won---AND OH DOES IT FEEL GOOD WHEN YOU WIN!
9.) We also have a legal writing business and have already defended a bunch of CPAs and EAs with trouble with IRS comming after them---so the more I learn--I will get it to pay, 
10.) Everytime I take a test my husband says as I go out the door---You're wasting your time ---so far I've passed the series 7, 63, 4, and 5 (working in securities after working for SEC and NASD; insurance licensing in 4 states, real estate in 2 states, Bar exam in 2 states, and 3 of 4 sections of the CPA exam back in the old one place one date on paper (yes I was defeated by the Practice section when it was two 3 hour sections and those huge sheets of paper that only bean counters liked--now it is one 3 hour section on computer--TIME TO PASS THE CPA NOW----now I'm reading Gliem on auditing for new stuff and maybe this time --no paper I'll pass practice, LAST YEAR JUST TO GET MY HUSBAND I DID THE EA EXAM----passed the EA in 14 months using gliem.  Now, I have prepared taxes since 1972 when I started doing them in military, then did 20 years of HRB parttime and took all their courses, so taxes have been a part of my life all be it a minor part for 40 years...The joke is I've worked on wall street in World Trade building done huge currency trades and worked in small law offices been a part of the team on major trials....CUMULATIVE LIFE LEARNING AND GROWING SKILLS AS WE GROW OLDER IN TEST TAKING.  So, I'm out to make this fun I want to thank whoever it was who turned me on to Professor/Judge Murry Falk at Golden Gate University , I am now working off his reading list for his tax procedure course---Plus the student version of those books is way cheaper and Golden Gate sells used student texts on line BIG THANKYOU (yes, I'm incredibly cheap!!!! I have many grandchildren).  So, here I go having fun.

Now on the serious side anybody know how to solve this problem: In our office we do way too many Tax Resolution cases in North Carolina through American Federal Tax Services (AFTS) the only good advertised national tax resolution group that takes monthly payments and doesn't rip the clients off (loss leader for our office 1 out 12 of these cases sends us the big one after we solve their little problems---recently got Union cement layers from NYC )----so we have so many client with problems with NCDOR-------basically they haven't filed and get drop dead letters from both IRS or NCDOR (which also issues TAX Warrant for Arrest--fun state) NCDOR then agrees that they didn't owe any taxes so wipes out tax debt but NCSFR (substitute for return) has penalty and interest charges on books which NCDOR has refused to remove for us---NCDOR just doesn't respond to our letters..... and sometimes those penalties and interest a huge-----know anybody good in NC who has won on that one with NCDOR.Because this policy by NCDOR is definitely a whole bunch of constitutional violations but who has fought it out on a major case.Taxjoy 19:59, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

27 September 2011
Reading Jay Starkman CPAs "The Sex of a Hippopotamus" just because he is someone who has taken and passed the Tax Court Exam--but WOW what he has to say about the tax court exam---in chapter 10 if you want to be discouraged and know that some of the questions may be really sick! page 294 and 295 discuss the issue of having two members of the tax court willing to sponsor you with their names written on application ---BEFORE YOU TAKE TEST. sAW THAT ONE WAS DEBATED BEFORE ON THIS SITE. Now, do I have to be super nice to everyone in the court to be assured of sponsors?

Hey, anyone want to congradualate IRS on their nifty new look today. At least IRS finally got rid of that wasted cover sheet and final page. I still want to start a petition to require IRS and State Revenue Department employees to be drug and alchol tested on the job......I cannot believe the stuff they lose. I just had a clients wage levy continue for five weeks after she had accepted in writing the a Streamlined IAP-----had to send 16 pages to Tax Advocate because the hotline people kept saying they had sent the 668-D. Got a friendly settlement officer to issue one. Now ACS is admitting that the 668-D was never sent. Are all the clerks who open mail and process Faxes at IRS drunk, drugged out, or just so dumb they can't sent a second form when the first doesn't arrive and someone literally can not eat because all the money is going in a wage levy?

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

30 September 2011
Hi,

Everyone doing new year celebrations? Rosha Shona? As for actual sites where one can get the current topic under debate--change by TC or by Supreme Court on TC decision ---I think the debate on how far back the IRS can look at a persons tax will be a question on the 11/2012 USTCP exam thus anyone who is putting together a folder like me on current hottopics likely to be on exam about cases in news should read Attorney Jason Woods's column in Forbes and definitely this weeks column found at www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2011/09/29....I'd appreciate anyone else putting in their ideas about what current cases are likely to be the essay question---the new current hot topic---but Forbes column is the place to read a readable (not just for attorneys in tax) review of tax related cases see all of robert Woods stuff if you are studying for 11/2012-----and do read"The Sex of a Hippopatamus" by jay Starckman ---I am shocked by all the new stuff I learned reading his book-----history of IRS--that I din't know----and I thought I was good at this stuff---but Starkman and woods have opened my eyes and given me whole new ways to write about tax law----even just my own silly low level OICs and Penalty and Interest abatement requests.Taxjoy

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

30 September 2011
Taxjoy, your link doesn't work.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

30 September 2011
try this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2011/09/29/supreme-court-to-rule-on-irs-6-year-audit-push/

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

30 September 2011
And at this time I would probably disagree. Anything in which the different circuits disagree on, and therefore fodder for the Supreme Court, is probably NOT something that would be on the tax court exam, simply because they want ONE good answer, not a different answer from each district. It never hurts to be prepared, I suppose, and if you're learning for learning's sake, go ahead. But I don't feel that they want to test something where the Supreme Court would say their answer was wrong. The Tax Court doesn't want people appealing their exam scores on the basis of a Supreme Court decision. Go back to your sex with a hippopotamous book. That topic is just as likely to be on the exam.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

30 September 2011
Yes, I agree with you that the exam will only test the final decision by the Supremes thus I am making 3" by 5' cards on Home Concrete & Supply to remind me to keep tabs on that decision.....however my point is "Where does one find the easiest best reporting, writing style for TC cases likely to appear on the test?" As you know from this thread---I'm looking to find the resorces for studying this stuff without paying some non-lawyer who doesn't understand the principals of law and legal research (but is leading a review course at over $2,000.00+ to send me in the right direction to pass this test). I am not out to just pass the test---as stated before I don't have to pass the test. I'm getting ready for my first really serious heavy litigation attempt in the tax court---------preparation so I don't fall on my ass when I take on my first really serious really expensive major tax court brief. I've been paid a lot for my writing----today I'm writing a research brief on the subject of the statutte of limitations and whether the fact that the client signed an SFR and paid the tax--triggers the statute of limitations? Answer NO-----BUT IT IS FIVE PAGES OF HEAVY RESEARCH FOR AN IMPORTANT CPA OFFICE which is paying $1,200.00 for this little gem. Now, I know I'm still writing law in the style of a normal civil attorney (specialist in SEC stuff)----I know there will be little code words and little phrases that the TC will react to as "one of there own"------every time you change the courts you are going into the language changes slightly and the court can spot a neebie...or someone coming from a fancy office where they learned a lot and have powerful friends. Thus, learning the language is the name of the real game........I never go any where near criminal or family law because that stuff is so "insider"(and not really worth much in net income over time). If you haven't heard tax attorneys net out over life time earn more than any other type of attorney-----thus studying is worth it.......and with the economy going into this "Greater Depression" (Peter Schift)-----there is more and more tax resolution clients. I've learned the basics of tax resolution doing small cases and now I want to break out into the big cases. So, language is what I'm looking for.....places where reading is fun, language and ideas are really good. That is why I was so surprised to find that Starkman's book really is seriously heavy on nature of law in tax court in chapter 10---that one chapter makes the book worth owning---and he has some other silly stuff tooo...a good win and I get to send my copy to someone as Christmas present......so where do you do you major tax law reading ? What news sources are you tracking?Taxjoy

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

2 October 2011
Something that D&T turned me onto - going to the horse's mouth, where you can really get the feel of the language that the tax court uses. The Tax Court site itself, where they post their new decision online every day (for free).

It is my experience (from sitting for the test in 1998) that the exam covered the major decisions made by the tax court within the past two years (since the previous exam). Thus, studying the decisions themselves gives you the best feel for the types of questions likely to be on the exam.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

3 October 2011
Also, if you haven't purchased ($30 from the US Tax Court site) the Tax Court Rules of Practice & Procedures, you can do what I just did: download them for free from the site and print them on your own computer. I'm going to put them in a 3 ring binder, printed, they are about an inch thick.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

4 October 2011
What is D&T? I'm going to be crazy from now to 17th---are the clients acting weirder as this recession/greater depression gets worse?----the number of late personal extensions still coming in-----and we have decided to change office space because Phoenix real state has dropped so much (over 50% and commercial is now taking a real header down----that for each of last three years we increased our space while paying same rent---now we have checked out three different places we can move to for almost same space and half the rent. Incredible--Phoenix is just collapsing economically-----if we didn't get clients nationwide for tax resolution we would be in such trouble----as it is we are actually growing more clients from other states who don't see our office space. So, we are moving out in October and not moving into new space until January. ---that will save us $15,000.00 force us to clean everything up for the new tax season.....but the effort of change.....If I didn't listen to all the clients' sob stories about how they have gotten into such financial trouble, I couldn't keep motivating myself to keep working.....but these last two weeks of extensions are going to be a bear! Is D&T "death and taxes" and did he passs the tax exam? Is there some secret handshake for getting cool with this chat room? I have never done a chat room before, but I think I have just maxed out being the office leader cause it is frigging lonely leading and every once in a wile I look back and the troops have dropped off taking naps assuming I'll get stuff done and explainTaxjoy

Westie (talk|edits) said:

6 October 2011
On 2 Oct a poster suggested that reading the cases on the Tax Court website is a good place to start to learn the language of the court. It is an excellent way to get a functional vocabulary of the court’s writing style. Phrases such as “deductions are a matter of legislative grace..” and “the Commissioner is presumed correct…” float throughout the majority of the opinions published.

Taxjoy - it appears that you are looking for a legal based education on the Tax Court exam. Have you looked into the Tax Law Institute (http://www.taxlawinstitute.com/index2.html) ?

Since you are already a lawyer there is a program in Tax Trial Advocacy for not just the Tax Court but also the District Court and the Court of Federal Claims. This seems to be more in-line with what you are looking for. However they also offer a complete training program to prepare for the Tax Court Non-attorney Examination.

If you study the statistics from the Tax Court you will quickly learn that of the approximately 22 – 24 thousand petitions submitted to the court each year, about 90% of all petitions submitted to the court are settled in “Docketed Appeals”. Mastery of the Pre-Trial Tax Litigation and Appeals process is a fundamental requirement for this work and it is not limited to attorneys.

Pre-Trial Tax Litigation Support specialists can assist petitioners with tax code and legal research to help educate the petitioner in formulating their position. Once the petitioner has submitted their petition to the court any lawyer, CPA or EA can then represent the petitioner in the “Docketed Appeals” process and get the matter settled without going to trial.

The matter of references for the Tax Court Non-Attorney Exam was mentioned in an earlier post. At the time that the application is submitted you are not required to list your references. An applicant can state “To be provided at a later date” on their application. If the examination is passed then references can be provided to the Clerk of the Tax Court.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

12 October 2011
Thanks Westie, In case you haven't read my bio--I just updated it to this:



Hi I'm Taxjoy, I am an EA, I've passed 3 of the 4 sections of the CPA exam, I graduated from a cheap law school in CA (Western State School of Law, Fullerton , CA which was only regionally approved when I went there free--because I took the LSAT after starting there at night and got a full scholarship)and passed the CA Bar( one of the toughest BAR exams if not the hardest --ask the NY guys which is tougher)----but nobody wants a lawyer from a cheap law school but they will pay a lot for an MBA in accounting EA who also is a USTCA so I'm gona do it even though I don't have to. For the following reasons, I'm helping/sponsoring two other tax practitioners who work for me through the CA BAR(yes, you can become a lawyer in CA, NY and a few other states by just in office study no law school--discussion of this on one the Tax Court Exam sites here)...and we are beginning to get some heavy cases and I'm sick of referring them out to other attorneys who know the tax court, better than me......I think an attorney who didn't study how to do it or get apprenticed into the tax court should be up be the Ethics committee all too soon. And I have the same opinion about some of the people teaching the TAX BAR courses because I have heard them make some outrageous mistakes in lectures showing that they know nothing about law----just tax, and that they do very little real tax resolution work. If the instructor says you should go to IRS for a CDP hearing and "get to know" the Settlement Officer by personal appearance----then that instructor doesn't really know resolution tax work in volume! doesn't do REAL RESOLUTION WORK, because if you are really working you are handling many, many, many CDP hearings a week and the IRS knows your reputation---and the settlement officers do not want to waste their time meeting you unless it is at a conference with a drink in their hands..and you have a good new joke to tell. Also, the more CDP hearings you do---the more the issues become something you can just cut and paste into the brief covering letters which I write like preliminary briefs (something NOT MENTIONED BY MANY INSTRUCTORS FOR TAX BAR COURSES---by putting the winning legal arguement in covering letter with the 433-A or $33-B documents you are telling the settlement officer that you know what is legally possible before you get on the phone. Presenting law days before the hearing allows the settlement officer to research the cases before the hearing, shows you are well prepared and cuts the time of the hearing down to bare minimium--------I get real mad when clients don't send me necessary hearing material with time to spare before CPD hearing---if that happens I still send my covering letter with legal reference to what I hope to do if the client ever gets their act together-----most Settlement Officers really like that, because it puts you on their side working with them. Since I do a lot of current disabled veterans --I'm really beginning to know some settlement officers and they are getting used to my pre hearing semi-briefs and my complete medical evaluation of clients with complete perscription print out described so that I can get the penalties and interest removed for post traumatic stree---work on veterans not on normal peopleTaxjoy Thank you! Pub 4639 Disclosuere and Privacy Issues does anyone think it will be a major topic on TC exam.......Oh here's a joke...turns out one of the CPAs who I do a lot of resolution work for (he has lot and lot of rich doctor clients) just decided to study for the TC exam and he paid for the $7,400.00 CPA course and is sharing it with me.....so now I will be seeing the CPA course material. Now, I'm looking to swap stuff as we get further into this thing. Til then I hope you are not in the homocidial mood I'm in over clients who still don't have their personal stuff in.......we are moving office in last half of October to save a lot on rent------going virtual til January 15-----so I am so stressed I am telling the employees to tell the clients that they do not want to talk to me til thaey have all their material in.Taxjoy


Taxjoy

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

12 October 2011
Here is a suggestion, Taxjoy, for the essay portion of the tax court exam:

Learn how to write comprehendable paragraphs. Your thoughts ramble. Please take this as constructive criticism. If your essay answers are similar, you won't get full points.

Ukbones (talk|edits) said:

12 October 2011
This all seems a little bizarre.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
Yup. Something is off kilter, alright.

Taxaway (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
But if TaxAlmanac instituted a drug test before posting, we would miss out on stuff like this.

Joanmcq (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
Paragraph breaks are good; I can't read what she writes without my head spinning. Concise is nice in a bio, too.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
Kevin says: "Here is a suggestion, Taxjoy, for the essay portion of the tax court exam:

"Learn how to write comprehendable paragraphs. Your thoughts ramble. Please take this as constructive criticism. If your essay answers are similar, you won't get full points."

In time I suspect the Court will change the exam so that rather than write, the applicants will blog, and Tj will be ahead of the curve.

Ukbones (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
The destruction of the English language. Here, there and everywhere.

"but nobody wants a lawyer from a cheap law school but they will pay a lot for an MBA in accounting EA who also is a USTCA so..."

No firm will pay top dollar for anyone with the inability to focus.

You earned a BS then a JD and passed the bar. I assume you had the intention of practicing law. So far so good. You then decide you would prepare tax returns so you sat for the EA. One can only assume you liked it and you commit to sitting for the CPA, ignoring law altogether now. You slogged 75% through and now you are here with the decision to do the most asinine thing you could find; sitting for the USTCA.

You may as well just sit for the bar - again. Maybe take the EA - again. Maybe even take parts 1,2 & 3 of the CPA exam - again. It would provide you with as much value commercially as the USTCA.

I think maybe we forget we only have one life. Spend your time wisely - it's running out fast!

Ps. What in the world is an MBA in Accounting?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
A high school English class somewhere along the way would have helped.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
Also, I can't figure out how to get a USTCA designation. I can find that successfull passers of the tax court bar exam for non-attorneys can apply to be admitted as a USTCP. But not a USTCA. Maybe that's specially reserved for those with MBAs in Accounting.

In any event, I'm already working on the first two assignments in Sherrill Trovato's class.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
Maybe I am dating myself, but when my attorney-boss (95% of whose income came from tax preparation and representation) had to appear for the first time in Tax Court, he only to supply proof that he was in good standing with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (and pay a fee, if I remember correctly).

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
That's exactly what we've been trying to tell Taxjoy all along - that she doesn't need to pass the exam for non-attorneys (I actually don't even know if they'll let her sit for the exam) because, as long as she is admitted to the bar and in good standing in any other state, she can apply to the Tax Court for admission (without taking another exam). But hey, she wants the education (of how to pass the exam she might not even be eligible to take, and of which the instructors don't know as much as her because they're not attorneys) anyways.

"A little bizarre" is putting it mildly.

Agham12 (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
Kevin, do you think that the 2010 material (Sherrill's course) should be ok? I know there have been some updates, but I am can get the 2010 from another practitioner who passed the exam. My plan is to use this material and maybe just sign up for the DC seminar by Sherrill before the exam.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
D&T,

No, you aren't dating yourself except that your boss probably didn't appear pro hac vice. Instead, he qualified for and obtained a full Tax Court license, the same license, I believe, that non-attorneys get when they pass the Tax Court Bar exam. All being a state licensed lawyer did for him was to get the T.C. Bar exam waived.

No small advantage, of course.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
Well, if you need any more than the review, the price of her course BEFORE the end of October isn't considerably more than the price of one of the three sessions by itself.

I haven't seen all of her material yet, but I do imagine that most of it is the same, save for the tax court decisions that have occurred since the last time the test was written.

Part of my class agreement with Sherrill was to not share her copyrighted material with others not taking her course. I don't know if your friend signed a similar agreement, but do be careful. Past tax court exams are not copyrighted, obviously. Suggested answers might be, though.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

13 October 2011
Good grief you guys can certainly go off on grammar----as said before ---I type 95 word a minute---and if it is going some place important there is an ex-College professor part time secretary to correct. I'm into information and making money---not politics with the NAEA, NACPA, or National Tax attorneys. What I want is information and dialogue about what is really there to learn......by the way I did just used the entire discussion in this chat room on "audit Reconsideration" and got a whole lot of good stuff that Dave Fogel wrote. How about we start putting up new and important cases likely to be cited on TCExam like when Dave puts out the leading case on Audit Reconsideration and whether a CDP hearing has to wait for result. Anyways, I'll be too busy for a while so you can all have fun elsewhere.....however, I just got two OIC accepted which I thought were hail Marys so I guess the stuff I send in to IRS isn't that confusing. Sorry about your dizzy heads guys.Taxjoy

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

14 October 2011
Oh forgot to mention this-----do you know that 90% of the licensed attorneys in US have NET TAXABLE INCOME OF LESS THAN $38,000.00 a year----they are "practicing" barely keeping their offices open and their leased cars on the road (Read Melvin Belli's "My Life at Law" for the difference between "practicing" and real law----also read "The Terrible Truth about Lawyers") during this recession/"greater Depression" (Peter Shift term) 30% of the CPAs working in 2007 are not working now......out here in CA, AZ, and NV the CPAs are carrying huge recieveables and not making anything like pre-2008. Shall we all congradulate ourselves that tax work is one huge annuity system----every year the old clients come back and are easy to do and the new ones come adding up to constant growth in one's business...... Guess what kind of attorney makes the most regular year-after-year money.....tax attorneys. If you own your own tax practice---you have the potential to make so much more than the ambulance chasers or criminal guys. And studying for the TC Exam focuses my direction....and I'm hauling two more people/employees behind me and with me........I'm using you guys to make me focus and to get ideas of where to read and learn...........Dudes, I passed the California Bar exam--I can write-----federal court specialist---used to do securities work at SEC (yes, they sucked--I hated my fellow SEC employees they were so bad-knew we were headed for a Bosky------and literally left for Wall Street and Dean Whitter World Trade Building currency options)---had lots of secretaries and clerks to correct, but everybody has always liked my lively writing.....you've seen some of it on "St. Elsewhere" ,"ER", and "Law and Order'......etc.Taxjoy

Taxaway (talk|edits) said:

14 October 2011
There are differences between a chatroom and a forum. One is the presentation.

Taxjoy, I'm afraid if you keep posting chunks of information without paragraph breaks or coherency, people will skip reading your forum posts (even if posted in the general chat section).

Ukbones (talk|edits) said:

14 October 2011
Now it all makes sense. I've been under pressure lately and not thinking clearly. This deadline has been taking it's troll.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

14 October 2011
Think so, eh? Maybe. Maybe so. Hope not, though.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

15 October 2011
Beastly trolls for clients who want to take outrageous deduction.Taxjoy

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

2 November 2011
Hello critics,

Wow, did we have a big October. We gave notice on our leased office Oct.1 and gave every employee notice for the end of month. Then faced the awful truth about our local clients on extensions. Did 3rd quarter payroll while packing boxes. In the midst of all that the building went into bankruptcy and toilets stopped up. Were we ever glad we have given notice and not paid October rent while we paid for a porta poddy in the parking lot. All of which made me happy to remember why I like studying for test and like reading law. For me the study is peaceful meditation. So, I'm finishing CPA Ray Starckman's book "The Sex of the Hippopatumus" which I originainal only intended to speed read , but ended up highlighting, writting notes to myself and tabbing for future reference. I highly recommend that book to anyone who is doing tax representation work. So, did you miss me on this blog? I'm going to be super busy sorting boxed stuff and looking a new cheaper locations because rents in Phoenix are down more than 50% (so if we stay here we will have such lower rent in the new tax season). However, both myself and my partner have offers to go work for someone else in differenct cities (Dallas, San Diego, and Little Rock) and we have offer sto move our office into olPAs and Lawyers space on shared work basis (no paid rent) and possible buy out agreements. So, I guess I will be opening new sections for information about CPA/EA buyout with shared work space agreements. So, tell me what you all are studying, because in the crush of just moving, doing ordinary work, and getting a bunch new resolution clients because of continued economic troubles----I long to quietly study. But I promise I will be at that exam in November 2012 to meet you all and have a celebration drink after the exam in Washington DC. Have you ever heard of the "Old Ebit Bar" three blocks from the White House----it is where all the journalists hang out. The bar has continuously been open since the Civil War and for a after exam party on Thursday lunch they would probably give all US Tax Court Exam takers the upstairs space and group discount on great real Roast beef on hard roll sandwiches. Yes, I always plan the celebration party after the test, because focusing on the relief celebration---is fun goal. You should be at some CA BAR taking parties---after 3 days of tests the test takers hang out in bar yelling answers back and forth for hours until people absolutely collapse from a combination of exhaustion, relief, and reaction to hearing other peoples' answer. Don't go home after the test in isolation --EXCHANGE ANSWER AND LAUGH AND MEET THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GONE THROUGH THE STUDY WITH YOU. Isn't that what many of you are paying $4,000.00 to $7,000.00 in study fees to get---comradeship?Taxjoy

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

2 November 2011
Hello critics,

Wow, did we have a big October. We gave notice on our leased office Oct.1 and gave every employee notice for the end of month. Then faced the awful truth about our local clients on extensions. Did 3rd quarter payroll while packing boxes. In the midst of all that the building went into bankruptcy and toilets stopped up. Were we ever glad we have given notice and not paid October rent while we paid for a porta poddy in the parking lot. All of which made me happy to remember why I like studying for test and like reading law. For me the study is peaceful meditation. So, I'm finishing CPA Ray Starckman's book "The Sex of the Hippopatumus" which I originainal only intended to speed read , but ended up highlighting, writting notes to myself and tabbing for future reference. I highly recommend that book to anyone who is doing tax representation work. So, did you miss me on this blog? I'm going to be super busy sorting boxed stuff and looking a new cheaper locations because rents in Phoenix are down more than 50% (so if we stay here we will have such lower rent in the new tax season). However, both myself and my partner have offers to go work for someone else in differenct cities (Dallas, San Diego, and Little Rock) and we have offer sto move our office into olPAs and Lawyers space on shared work basis (no paid rent) and possible buy out agreements. So, I guess I will be opening new sections for information about CPA/EA buyout with shared work space agreements. So, tell me what you all are studying, because in the crush of just moving, doing ordinary work, and getting a bunch new resolution clients because of continued economic troubles----I long to quietly study. But I promise I will be at that exam in November 2012 to meet you all and have a celebration drink after the exam in Washington DC. Have you ever heard of the "Old Ebit Bar" three blocks from the White House----it is where all the journalists hang out. The bar has continuously been open since the Civil War and for a after exam party on Thursday lunch they would probably give all US Tax Court Exam takers the upstairs space and group discount on great real Roast beef on hard roll sandwiches. Yes, I always plan the celebration party after the test, because focusing on the relief celebration---is fun goal. You should be at some CA BAR taking parties---after 3 days of tests the test takers hang out in bar yelling answers back and forth for hours until people absolutely collapse from a combination of exhaustion, relief, and reaction to hearing other peoples' answer. Don't go home after the test in isolation --EXCHANGE ANSWER AND LAUGH AND MEET THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GONE THROUGH THE STUDY WITH YOU. Isn't that what many of you are paying $4,000.00 to $7,000.00 in study fees to get---comradeship?Taxjoy

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

3 November 2011
Taxjoy

1) This is NOT a blog space, but a discussion forum. You missed that point that someone made above.

2) No, I don't intend on re-thinking each answer after I'm finished writing the exam. That's just assinine to beat yourself up for what you should have answered. Either you know it or you don't.

3) The study materials I'm using are listed under "resources" on Sherrill's site.

4) No, I'm not looking to a class for comradship. I'm taking a class to pass the exam. If you want comradship I'd suggest a daily AA meeting. There are actually lots of people there who will listen to each-other's blogs stories of woe.

DublinTax (talk|edits) said:

4 November 2011
Taxjoy,

I am not paying for comradeship but I am paying to pass the exam. I am getting comradeship for free.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

5 January 2012
Taxjoy (or others interested in the subject): I haven't read this book yet, but I trust anything written by Robert McKenzie. Probably well worth the cost if you're interested in actually appearing before the Tax Court.

http://store.westlaw.com/representation-before-united-states-tax-court/138606/40370194/productdetail

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

7 April 2012
10 days to the end of tax season, Wow, I haven't had time to even check in to this site in 4 months---but now in an effort to inspire myself to make it through the last 10 days, I'm preparing to order study material to read in the collapse ("vacation") after the 17th, and up pops Mary Ann Maxson, MST, EA, USTCP new 2012 course http:www.mastax.com/aboutUs.aspx for $1,195.00-----NOW THAT IS A PRICE I'M READY TO PAY! Also I suspect she is much more experienced in the real work in the tax court--who knows--I've got e-mails in to her about all the books she uses. But as I've said before---I am going to Washington D.C. to party after the exam. Max's taxes even has a three day crash course in D.C. the week of the exam----which is slightly interesting to me. However, I have a problem with too many friends in DC and I might party too hard---but that is a way to relax into a test. So, guys is this site going to get lively after the 17th looking forward to our lovely trip to D.C. in the fall? Yeah Kevinh5 I like anything bob McKenzie writes and have listened to him extensively at the ASTP lecture on their course on "Certified Tax Problem Resolution Specialist before IRS" (yes --that is the only recognized IRS cert above EA). So, oh happy critics on this site----are you having fun during tax season and doesn't anyone want to party with me after the exam in the "Old Ebit Bar"? I am also going to Walter Reed hospital to see two friends who have managed to get seriously hurt in Iraq qnd Aphganistan....so I need to be happy for lunch before the hospital visit. Has this been the most depressing tax season with way too many clients loosing their houses because they are so upside down---and so many have lost their jobs. Good grief, we have had to double our Kleenex order for the office. I need to study to occupy my mind so I don't think about the clients' troubles and ----studying will be such a wonderful distraction from anything to do with this election. I was seriously active in the last Presidential Election because one of our other businesses has been wiring political campaign offices for two decades in CA, NV, and AZ...the most important moment is after the election results come in----the loosing parties offices will be empty before the final tally--and thieves know to go in and rob the loosing political office---so for every election since the 1980s, I have been in political campaign offices pulling out and loading up computers and other office equipment as the results come in-------I don't want to be involved with this election at all, but obviously I will be turned into the Boss with the van that last day ---just a week before the Tax Court Exam.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

8 April 2012
Sigh.

I still don't get why the USTC exam for tj doesn't consist of writing a personal check for a trivial sum. But I am past praying for a coherent answer to that one.

Meanwhile, I reread Crow's comment that everything he knew about tax was pretty much useless. A painful realization in which I share completely!

Sigh.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

9 April 2012
TaxJoy, since that post I have purchased McKenzie's book - it is VERY good and worth the money. I highly recommend it for self-study. It won't be enough to pass the 4 parts of the exam, but it will be enough to pass the 'rules of the court' section . It should be right up your alley, since it is really written to give attorneys (you) the 'how to' specifics of the Tax Court.

Taxjoy (talk|edits) said:

9 April 2012
I mentioned this before---but we already have a bunch of clients from down under and a whole bunch in the middle east-------these very rich client who do serious trade business---thus potentially $100,000.00 retainers on some of the serious stuff-------well do you know how mad it makes me to have to give away cases like that. On the international market---the decision makers who are going to really fight stuff up to the Supreme Court level are NOT GOING TO HIRE A US TAX FIRM THAT DOESN'T HAVE THE USTC designation above the simple lawyer qualified to stand before the court designation. MONEY GUYS---BIG MONEY. The USTC is the smallest law club out there----one doesn't want to be an idiot before them......what is the only way I cram huge amounts of information in a short time---set a deadline, get some wagers going on my success or failure, plan a party at the end of the test, and know that at the end of the run there is prestige and some serious money to be made.........get out of your provincial "know it all world"a travel if only in your mind. And meet me in the "Old Ebit" for lunch after the exam. Now, there is a possibility that I am going to turn the exam date into an across the nation road trip with dogs, and friends-----if I travel by car there are people signing up for different stages of the trip---ROAD TRIP TO THE TAX COURT EXAM!!!!!! aNYONE WANT TO JOIN-----THE TRIP MAY START IN oRANGE COUNTY cALIFORNIA, OR pHOENIX, THEN TO dENVER (HOTSPRINGS!! SOAK) THEN TO iOWA (SO i HAVE RELATIVES) TO mICHIGAN (DON'T ASK) AND sTRATFORD ON aVON (cANADA----FOR THE sHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL EITHER COMING OR GOING).......Now, how can one be nervous about a test---tripping across the US listening to Mary Ann Maxon on CD talk about tax cases-------sounds like fun to me. Oh and you guys are goin to have to eat your attitudes so bad if I pass this succor first try with this "serious uptight attitude"!

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

9 April 2012
Not sure if you meant 'succor' or 'au secours', TaxJoy.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

9 April 2012
I don't think that there's any difference between my Tax Court admission certificate and the certificate I'm confident Kevin will soon pry from the tight fists of the Clerk of the U.S. Tax Court except the date of admission and the name of the practitioner.

I suppose I could call myself a USTCP but what's the point? I don't call myself a USDCtP or a USCtOAP. I am skeptical that big clients bearing bags of cash (under $10,000/bag) will descend upon a law or accounting firm merely because one of the firm's members passed the Tax Court Bar Exam. There are tens of thousands of licensed Tax Court practitioners and as far as the Court is concerned they're all the same, whether attorney or non.

Yoos (talk|edits) said:

14 November 2012
To the ones who took the exam, and especially to Kevinh5 as you contribute to TaxAlmanac so frequently - how did it go?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
Ohhhhhh, it waS A bear. I know that I passed Substantive Tax Law, Legal Ethics, and Practice and Procedure with flying colors (85 to 95% on each) based on having studied my a$$ off the last 6 months.

But the fourth part - Evidence - wow! Usually the exam is written by tax court judges, and they re-cycle topics from old exams (as the first 3 parts were). This year the Evidence section appears to have been written by a Georgetown Law Professor, and not by a TC judge. It was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than past exams. The feel of the questions were different. A lot of 'character evidence' questions that most of us had NOT studied. We knew Business Records exceptions to hearsay, but we did not know the best way to impeach various witnesses based on the given testimony. UGH. I had supplimented Sherrill Trovato's stellar course and materials with several other Evidence texts and CDs to listen to, but did not pay attention to those things which were not highlighted in Sherrill's class, thinking they didn't apply to Tax Court. A big mistake.

This includes stuff that my study group did in addition to the class.

You have to get at least 70% in each of the four parts to pass. It doesn't matter that you got 90% on three but only 60% on the fourth. If I pass evidence, it will have been a major act of legislative grace by the graders.

Unfortunately, we don't get our results until late March or early April. If you get 2 pieces of paper in your envelope, you passed. If you get only one piece of paper, you got the 'condolences' letter.

You can't see your answers or your score if you passed. You can request your answers if you failed.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
The exam is 4 hours. 60 minutes for Evidence, 24 for Professional Legal Ethics, 60 for Practice and Procedure (Tax Court rules), and 96 minutes for Substantive Tax Law. The tax law part is as broad as the EA exam, but you have to be able to spit out your answers quickly or you will use up time needed for the other parts to the exam. More than 75% of the people taking the exam didn't finish every question.

I did, and had 15 minutes to go back and second guess myself, which probably wasn't good. I changed some of my answers in the Evidence part.

You are given a complete copy of the current Federal Tax Code, a copy of the Tax Court Rules, and the ABA Rules of Professional Conduct. Nothing for evidence. If you have to look up more than 3 things in total, you will run out of time.

This exam is set up to not allow you to pass. It honestly would be easier to do 3 years of law school than to pass this exam.

There were about 90 people taking the exam this year. I doubt if more than 5 will pass.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
I should add that this is NOT a multiple choice test. Most questions are essay, the ones on the tax law are "quantify, describe, and explain" type questions, where you have to first do the math, then explain the code section as it relates to the problem, like 351, 357, 751, 6015, etc. If you passed the EA exam recently, you would get 25% of the points. To get more than 70%, you have to know the code and be able to write.

Of course all of the Evidence and Ethics questions were essay.

Ukbones (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
If you failed, would you do it again?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
Yes, because I am SO CLOSE. I feel I got 90% on 3 parts, and 50% on the 4th. I would take a different approach about Evidence. You almost have to take a law school course on it to pass.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
Kevin, I'm going to make a prediction here:

You passed. I would put a very small amount of money on it.

And now an observation:

The TC Bar Exam is a BAR exam though only one-fourth or one-fifth as long as a State Bar exam (depending on the State). Failure rates for State Bar exams run from one-quarter to nearly one-half of all applicants and remember, these people have virtually ALL completed a whole graduate degree program in the subject. You are trying to accomplish through an intense Bar prep course something that most people take three years AND a Bar prep course to do. When your license shows up, you need to throw a party. It's a very big accomplishment.

One last note:

Evidence is a subject that most civil practice lawyers never do master. You really don't learn it in the kind of intense detail you needed for your exam until you've had to use those rules in Court. But I think you will find that your painfully acquired "feel" for the subject will carry you through.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
I gave you good advice on how to prepare and I now I hear you did not follow that advice!

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
It was good advice, too, but I don't know whether it would fit in Kevin's time frame.

If I were a non-lawyer doing tax representation, I might even take the first year of a California Bar qualifying correspondence J.D. program. After that first year, you take the California First Year Law Students' Exam. All of this is excellent prep for writing the answers to Bar-type essay questions.

Bar exams are as much about writing clearly as anything else. I never cease to be amazed at the number of otherwise well-educated people who have never learned to write.

Yoos (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
Talking about people who never learned to write... There wasn't anyone there of whom you thought "THAT must be Taxjoy", was there? Did all people taking the exam look fairly sane?;-)

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
I didn't see Taxjoy. Of the 90 challengers to the exam, some 50 I had come to know through Sherrill Trovato's excellent prep course. Unfortunately, even she could not predict a complete departure from the past 8 exams for this year's evidence section. We had studied the concepts on the past 16 years worth of exams.

Several folks in the class had come up to me before the exam and said "If anyone will pass, it will be you" or "I vote you most likely to succeed." I know of no one who spent as much time as I did on this.


Roy, I put at least $12,000 in real cash and $60,000 in billable time into studying for this within the past 13 months. I would take 2 or 3 days off at a time just to read TC Opinion cases, which show up on the exam regularly. If you haven't read them, you won't recognize them, but there were at least 6 scattered through the various parts. One of the tax questions was even "How will the TC decide this, considering their recent past decisions?"

Yoos (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
That is such a shame that this year's evidence section was so different from previous years after all that hard work!

This $60,000 to $80,000 in billable time at $200 to $250 per hour that you said most hopefuls had invested intrigues me... Is it about 200-300 hours of study time in total, or 300 hours during hours of business with hours of study in the evenings and weekends on top?

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

2012-11-15
Kevin,

You passed. I am almost positive.

Thanks for lunch again. t was great to meet and share with you.

Tom

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
You know, Kevin...given the amount of money and time you spent on this attempt...if somehow you DON'T pass, which I truly think very unlikely, maybe you should consider just doing a correspondence J.D. and taking out a California law license. That would give you Tax Court but it would also make you eligible for admission to the Courts of Appeals bars, the Claims Court bar, the California U.S. District Court bars, and pro hac vice appearances in other Courts.

You could even defend child rapists and prosecute claims against stingy insurance companies in California courts!

The school I'd recommend is the place I got my LL.M. from, Taft Law School, but there are others. You don't need a B.A. or the LSAT exam. A Taft J.D. would take four calendar years of daily study and cost in the neighborhood of $30,000 in total tuition and fees plus books. Take a look if you like: www.taftu.edu

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

15 November 2012
Yoos, 200 to 300 hours of study, and travel to study (listening to Ethics and Evidence CDs part of that travel time, too), most of which, for me, was during time I would have gotten other paying work done, even if it was the weekend. I'm not counting the many times when I turned on an evidence lecture CD and fell asleep, hoping to get a better understanding subconciously. I wouldn't have been able to bill for that, anyways.


Tom, thanks! Yes, I also enjoyed meeting for lunch in DC this week! It was a great break.

NMexEA, yes, I'll look at that. There IS a chance I passed Evidence, so I'll not spend $30,000 just yet.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

16 November 2012
Kevin, I recommend you take a first year of a law school designed for California first year bar exam. I also recommend you take the first year bar exam.

This will give you training on how to write like a lawyer, this is very important. Plus it will give you understanding of how the law looks at the issues. Also, spotting issues.

You could also do the second year, if I remember correctly evidence is covered in the second year.

It is not the time you are spent studying, but, in my opinion the lack of a legal foundation.

I am 100% sure if anyone passed it was you. So I don't need to tell you how much faith I have in you.

Please, please, let me have another chance on suggesting your study, heck, take the first year anyway, it is great knowledge that you can use everyday in your practice.

Thanks for putting up with me.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

16 November 2012
Very good advice but there's something he's NOT telling you...

After you pass the FYLEX (First Year Law Students' Exam) you will be in the habit of studying law every night. You won't want to quit JUST yet because it will have gotten interesting...and then, three years later, you'll be standing there with a J.D. and an admission ticket to the California Bar Exam!

Devious, devious...notice how he sorta slipped it in there about the (ahem) SECOND year?? Halfway through the program you will be well and truly hooked.

BEWARE!

(wink)

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

16 November 2012
What does the Califonia 'mini-bar' allow you to do? Other than to continue studying.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

16 November 2012
All general applicants to the California Bar must pass the FYLSX within three offerings following completion of one year of law study. Attorneys from other states and persons who complete one year of study at an ABA approved or CalBar accredited law school are exempt.

The FYLSX tests contracts, torts and criminal law at a professional level of understanding. The purpose is (counter intuitively) to protect students who are clearly unlikely to succeed in law study from being duped by unscrupulous law school operators into paying for three more years of study.

The pass rate is very low. Interestingly, the pass rate for correspondence school students is higher than for students attending resident, unaccredited schools. I think that might be because there are many reasons for doing a correspondence J.D. (location, work or family obligations, military service, current long-term incarceration) but the biggest reason for attending an unaccredited resident school is that the student could not get admitted to an accredited school.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

2012-11-16
I think the California "mini-bar" allows you to get drunk in the privacy of your hotel room.

Tom

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

16 November 2012
"What does the California 'mini-bar' allow you to do?" Reflect on how much you know or don't know. also, to take some courses in Trust, Agency and Partnerships, Corporations, Estates, Income Taxes, Property Law. Courses that will help you understand Blackacre.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
Ah, Blackacre! How fondly I recall her verdant meadows and towering live oaks...the Big House gleaming in the full moonlight of a midsummer night...I spent three years toiling in and around Blackacre and the law I learned in the process is still remarkably useful. But I hope Sherman's men burnt that cracker box to the GROUND.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
Blackacre, if it isn't obvious, is the fictional piece of real estate law students analyse to learn the ancient and arcane interests in property.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
The TP did a 1031 for Whiteacre with it. He no longer owns it.

PollyAdler (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
Do you have to take the whole exam over each time if you don't pass all of it?

I congratulate on your discipline Kevin. I know I don't have the discipline to undertake that kind of study any more.

When I took my state bar exam, I got goofed up with the question numbers on one section of it (a part of the multi-state), and at the end my answer key was done before the questions were... Thank God it was just one section if I recall.

Well I did go home and get a little drunk the first night (I was so nervous) and I went back the next day and I guess I did ok on the discussion questions.

Keep at it. The tax court bar exam has the reputation of being the bear of them all. NMex, maybe we should look into becoming members of the Court of Claims and then apply our talents to assailing those judges on behalf of our clients. I understand you have to be recommended by a member of their bar, we might be able to bribe someone with a steak dinner or something to get our recommendations signed.

It sounds like this is a very sleepy court which would be right up my ally.:)

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
Yes, you have to pass all 4 parts in one sitting. The aggravating thing is that it is given only once every two years, so were I to find out that I didn't pass Evidence and want to study up on that while the other stuff was still fresh in my head then take the exam again, I can't.

I'm putting my study books and notes on the shelf at my office. They take up a full 34" shelf.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
34" there is your problem that is not near enough study material. roflol

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
LOL, I guess I haven't put my CDs in there yet. They;re still at home. That might get me to 35, but I'll have to start on another shelf. This one is full.

PollyAdler (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
I assume by evidence you mean the Federal Rules of Evidence, so you are having to learn difficult subjects outside of the strict confines of tax.

Evidence never made a damn bit of sense to me until I got in the courtroom. I did not find it easy at all in law school. Another class I didn't like during law school was civil procedure, later in my life it became one of the things I was best at.

Well, it sounds like the Tax Court does everything in it's power to keep people away, which is all the more reason to get the better of it.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

17 November 2012
Yes, FRE and Professional Responsibility are two parts of the 4 part exam.

Professional Responsibility was easy, once you understand conflicts of interest (and when written informed consent allows the conflict to be waived). Oh, and imputation.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2012
Legal ethics doesn't become a real bear until you do criminal defense or have to deal with that kind of issue. Anyway, Kevin, you passed.

RStoutEA (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2012
I took the test and studied with Kevin. We studied hard. Late night sessions, hundreds of hours and what he said was so true. This years evidence section was so entirely different than anything they have given. I know I passed the other three sections with no problems. There wasn't a single question in any of the other sections that I had to even think about. I looked in the Tax Court Rules book once to find an exact number on a new rule. I took the test in order given. Rules of Practice and Procedure took me 32 minutes (slated for 60 minutes). Substantive Tax? 1:15 (96 minutes given). Going into Evidence I was just under an hour ahead. The first question in Evidence (there was only 3, each with a few parts) said it was to take 12 minutes. I read the question. Then I reread the question. Then I sat back and thought about it for a few minutes. Then I read the question a third time. I'm almost 20 minutes into this section and I hadn't even written anything down! I skipped it and muddled through the rest of the section. Finished Ethics in about 15 minutes. (24 minutes suggested). Then I went back to the Evidence question and tried to figure out what it was asking.

I have already found an evidence course that I'm going to take at the local JC, whether or not I passed that section. So much hard work and I truly had no fear going into that test. But I was so unprepared for that section and most everyone we took it with said the same thing.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2012
Rick, make sure that it is Federal Rules of Evidence, and not Criminal Evidence (for a Law Enforcement Associate degree). Good luck!

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2012
I gather that the Tax Court doesn't make a syllabus available for the exam? Or that it just says, "Federal Rules of Evidence"? That's about what the States do, too.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2012
Nope, the exam topic names and the 3 reference books (4 this year, as the IRC was two volumes) is all they give you. The rest you have to get on your own.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2012
Oh, and FWIW, you really DO need to know how to impeach a witness in the course of a trial. You also need to know what the Rules DON'T allow in order to raise a timely, valid objection. The exam question may have blindsided you, Kevin, but it isn't arbitrary or capricious per se.

Still, the examiners shouldn't have placed too much stress on impeachment because Tax Court is a non-Jury forum. TC Judges should be perfectly able to sift between reliable evidence and doubtful evidence without counsel's help.

Fr. Mackelhenry (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Try not to lay it on too thick when you go after a Service witness.

Try this:

KEVIN: Your Honor THIS (pointing to the IRS employee) is the witness for the government in this case. The rest you know only too well from your considerable experience on this bench, and I ask you to take judicial notice of the just about every bad thing I could ever draw out in my cross examination today.

Judge, you know what goes on over there at IRS HQ. You know only too well. Take note of it, Sir, for the sake of justice.

In conclusion Sir, you do honor your robe with your person, now Sir ennoble it with the acknowledgement of the plain truth today.

(Then roll your eyes in a disdainful manner in the direction of the IRS witness, sniff, then dramatically flourish and then wipe your brow with a silk hanky).

JUDGE : Counselor, you have saved this court a lot of time today. You have compressed two tedious hours of cross examination down to the essentials. In short my boy, you've cut to the quick. You've gotten to the nub of it in as expeditious a manner as I've ever seen in this Courtroom.

I do take notice of it. I've sat on this bench for 30 years, and I've heard the claptrap from the government time and again till I'm up to my eyeballs with it.

It could be that I am being too expansive in my exercise of judicial notice to accept every conceivable bad thing you could have dredged up in cross examination today. So be it. I will tread today where I've dared not tread before.

I will note it. I DO note it.

Any more from the government?

Govt. Attorney (meekly): No, your honor.

Judge: There is really no reason to go on now with your client's side, Lawyer Kevin, unless your client just wants to tell his story.

Kevin : Your honor, my client is willing that MY impeachment of this witness BE his case. I refuse to embarrass the government further with my client's evidence and argument, especially when I feel I've pocketed a win at this point.

My client requests a judgement as a matter of law at this point. The government, when put to the test, when exposed, has NOT carried it's burden one little bit today. In short, I strangled this baby in it's crib.

JUDGE : (smiling and looking forward to the country club): So moved. We will now take the matter under advisement. Trial adjourned. (Case closed.)

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
I learned just tonight that the directed verdict has been replaced with a Judgement as a Matter of Law (JMOL) in Federal Court?

In a civil trial. For instance here, where I presume the IRS had the burden to prove it's case which Kevin "demolished" through effective cross?

I really don't know. NMex? Kevin? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
I believe that is TC Rule 122.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
The case is fully stipulated, and other than the stips and pleadings, the court hears no arguments.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Well the government has the burden of proof I presume. They would go first and try to present their Prima facie case (if there is such in tax). In other words, put on their evidence subject to your cross.

Now let's just say they (govt) had already been a little sloppy, and then you come along and do the miraculous by destroying their whole case while not asking a single question on cross.

Your brilliant and outrageous step of asking the court to take Judicial Notice of everything you could have impeached them with, but never did, in fact.

Lo and behold, the judge takes the bait and agrees to take notice of everything you could have done.

The judge himself even says there is little need to go forward with your client' side at this point.

So I think this would be the point I would have asked for a directed verdict in a civil trial, which I understand (just tonight) to be now called JMOL in federal court.

The case in chief is not made, so why go on with the trial?

(Of course a judge would never take judicial notice of something you could have brought out on cross, judges are hardly willing to take judicial notice of anything at all, BUT sometimes we all have to throw the dice. Especially when we wake up late and with a hangover.

Hopefully, NMex will come along an opine.)

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Petitioner has the burden of production and the burden of persuasion, except where the burden is shifted to the Commissioner (CATINASAFE exceptions). This was one of the TC exam questions.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
My bad.

Well in that case, just hope that the IRS will try to pull the stunt that you did above, and FAIL. Because they better try very hard to impeach your witness on cross in the case in chief if they know what's good for them.

As I said above, it would never happen that a judge would take judicial notice of something that was not done. That was my silly play acting in the dialogue above.

Now it could also be possible that your client could just be so poor a witness, he had no real case, nothing of substance, and essentially that as a matter of law and fact there would be no reason to go on.

(Those cases usually don't get to trial, but we'll play along for the educational value).

In that case, the govt., aware of this, might ask a few perfunctory questions on cross. Then close their cross. Judge would perhaps ask you if you had anything else in chief, you would probably say no.

Then it would be the government that might very well ask for the JMOL at that point. If TP failed to carry the burden so miserably, why go on?

I just turned it around to apply to the fact that you have the burden, which I didn't know.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
I won't go on with a lot of typing. It sounds like this Tax Court amounts to efficiency in overdrive, especially in small cases maybe.

Sounds like they really pair down the case before trial and you must have a whale of a pre-trial order (or what amounts to one)

I need to get off my butt and just go down and watch one of the tax court cases, even though I get the feeling the courtrooms are small. I would expect the trials would be open to the public when some TC judges come through our town.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Yes, the Standing Pre-Trial Order requires quite a bit: Stipulations to the fullest extent possible, a Brannerton conference, all documents exchanged 14 days prior to calendar call, etc. The idea is that the court should only hear the essential non-agreed arguments and evidence. The court can impose sanctions on either party for not cooperating with tehe SPTO.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
"effective cross" of whom?

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Please, forget I ask the above question.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Submission for Judgment without Trial? That's Rule 122. I don't see much difference between that and summary judgment, though, which also exists as TC Rule 121. Of course, the web site version may be out of date.

Speaking HYPER-technically, there really isn't such a thing as a "verdict" in Tax Court. Juries render verdicts while Judges sitting without juries make "findings and conclusions". When you think about it, Crow, all a good set of jury instructions does is ask the jury to decide certain well-defined facts and apply greatly simplified legal rules to those facts.

I don't know whether the Tax Court mavens here would agree with all this, though. But if what I say is true, that would make JMOL a more accurate description than "directed verdict".

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
I've often though the TA legal discussions would always go a lot smoother if we were all sitting in one room

Judges sitting without juries make "findings and conclusions" Good point. Agreed.

I think JMOL has totally replaced the phrase "directed verdict" [or "directed verdict of acquittal" in the criminal case] in the federal system. At least from what I read last night. I was sleepy though.

Getting back to TC..now that I finally understand who has the BOP (smile). Now trying to imagine how one of these cases would go along.

TP has the burden, and really in the TC case, most of the facts, or a suggested interpretation of the facts (flavor if you will) will come from the TP's side. So it seems to me that the government attorney would have by far most of the questions on cross, attempts to impeach, etc.

Kevin is basically going to be your typical plaintiff's lawyer here. Right? <<Ambulance Chaser>> He just needs to know how to put on his direct evidence.

Look at it this way, he'll probably never have a government hired expert to rake over the coals on cross. WRONG! My bad. The government might have an expert witness by way of an appraiser or business valuation expert or something.

So Kevin is going to have to learn to rake them over the coals and impeach and destroy them on cross examination. Now can he depose a government expert (e.g. appraiser) or any expert before the trial? Seems that he should be able to do that.

Take care, gentlemen,

NB: In the English system I think some of the lawyers carry to Blue Bag, some the Red one. With all the money I know Kevin's got in the bank, I hope he will buy himself a deluxe Blue Bag from a shoppe over there in England when he does get his "license to kill" at the court.

Note to NSA: By license to kill I merely mean his ticket to practice before the Tax Court.

Fr. Mackelhenry (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
The brief-bag, in which counsel's papers are carried to and from court, now forms an integral part of a barrister's outfit, but in the early part of the 19th century the possession of a brief-bag was strictly confined to those who had received one from a king's counsel. King's counsel were then few in number, were considered officers of the court, and had a salary of £40 a year, with a supply of paper, pens and purple bags. These bags they distributed among rising juniors of their acquaintance, whose bundles of briefs were getting inconveniently large to be carried in their hands. These perquisites were abolished in 1830.

English brief-bags are now either blue or red. Blue bags are those with which barristers provide themselves when first called, and it is a breach of etiquette to let this bag be visible in court. The only brief-bag allowed to be placed on the desks is the red bag, which by English legal etiquette is given by a leading counsel to a junior who has been useful to him in some important case. WIKI


Hello America! I like the idea of having the Solicitor do all the work, hand me the "brief" and all I have to do is walk into court and try the case. I'm moving.

Scroll down for the blue bag, might as well pick up a wig too. http://www.chancerywigs.com/enter/products.php?section=products


Kevin, do not put Christmas lights or glitter on your Blue Bag unless you are over in Gatlinburg, TN trying a Tax Court case. Then it's ok.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Yeah, the one thing that could stand stressing...The Tax Court License is a LAW license in every sense of the word. The scope of representation authority is limited solely by the power of the Tax Court to hear a given matter. One could make a pretty good argument that upon admission to the Tax Court Bar by examination, the USTCP actually could call himself/herself a "tax attorney" (though I don't recommend it because there are State authorities that might cause the practitioner some legal grief for doing so. Who needs it?)

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Summary Judgments are usually reserved for when the TP doesn't state a claim, or provide a prayer for relief, or the like. Res Judicata prevents them from bringing the year back into court.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
You won't find any USTCPs using the term 'tax attorney' in writing because of the state bar rules. But they might refer to themselves as a tax attorney verbally in social settings.

As for showing your sack in open court, I'll leave that for the British.

Ukbones (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Are you interested in, or entertaining the idea of, practicing law?

Fr. Mackelhenry (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
Do you mean does he intend to try cases in this court?

Every tax preparer practices law as soon as he gives legal advice for a fee. It's happens every day. IRC, Regs. etc all law. After all, the public is paying a fee and many times the public relies upon the legal advice.

(We all know clients who will pay for legal advice, and then seem perversely to NEVER rely on it. I don't really know why such clients are willing to pay for the advice since they know darn well they won't follow it.)

So it's the practice of law but it's permitted, and if Uncle Sam says it's permitted, especially in an area like federal income tax, then it's permitted. For that matter, the states are anxious to have tax returns arrive on time too.

You won't ever hear the government complain too much about having the ability to assess and collect taxes.  :)

Also, I suppose the answer is yes.... that you can do some discovery, like deposing witnesses, in Tax Court practice? It wouldn't seem fair if the IRS was going to put an expert on that you would not be able to dispose him prior to trial.

I would think that Kevin would want to try at least one case. That should cure him of it, and he'll no doubt find that he can make a lot more money sitting back at the office.

Nevertheless, there is a great deal of prestige to be had for the non-lawyer who has endured the kind of hazing and physical abuse usually associated with joining a fraternity JUST to become a member of this Court. And to think, this hazing and torture are being sponsored and enforced by the U.S. Government!

Immediately Kevin's speakers fees and instructor's fees, seminar fees, honorariums, DVDs and books will go through the roof and fly off the shelf.


Ukbones (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
In effect, what you're saying is, Anderson and Kevin will "hook-up" in a way reminiscent of teenage girls.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
It seems to me based on the general Rules based approach to civil lawsuits, that failure to state a claim should be disposed of much earlier under Rule 120 Judgment on the Pleadings or even via a motion for more definite statement followed by a motion to dismiss when no better statement is forthcoming. I'm surprised that there seems to be no Tax Court equivalent to Rule 12(b)(6) which is "Failure to State a Claim" (formerly called "demurrer") unless I missed it.

It can be done under summary judgment but I should think S/J is a clunky process for a simple legal argument. The test for S/J is that there are no triable issues of material fact remaining in the case. A motion for dismissal for failure to state a claim says, in essence, "Even if the Court accepts every well-pleaded fact in the petition as true, the petitioner is as a matter of law not entitled to relief." Much easier to draft and lack of discovery is not a defense.

I take the point that S/J is a judgment on the merits and therefore triggers res judicata. But some Courts are reluctant to grant S/J for that very reason where the circumstances suggest that the taxpayer might be suffering more from poor pleading than from a poor case. But I am no expert on Tax Court practice and the custom may be otherwise.



NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
As Lord Peter Whimsey once observed, there are some indiscretions even youth will not excuse.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2012
And besides, who else gave you an opinion as to THAT??

Gazoo (talk|edits) said:

20 November 2012
Sorry to leave some of your posts hanging up there gentlemen. I decided to get rid of a lot of my irrelevant comments (of course they could all be irrelevant) because we don't have that many posts here on the topic which this thread covers.

As I think everyone knows, they are available in history.

NMex: "And besides, who else gave you an opinion as to THAT??"

The answer is discoverable in the history. :)

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

20 November 2012
You know, Gazoo...by deleting those posts you are depriving future generations of the inestimable benefits of your ancient wisdom and laser-like perspicacity. Sorta like Van Gough destroying his own paintings when he decided that he didn't like them. (Now if Warhol wanted to destroy HIS stuff, so what? But the Crow Personalities are of greater ultimate value than anything Warhol ever did.)

Gazoo (talk|edits) said:

20 November 2012
I knew I was already pushing my luck when I had Kevin wearing a 10 gallon hat and smoking a big cigar and dining and shopping in NY with Anderson Cooper. However, I felt if I had broken new territory with a discussion of my orange thong purchase, I might get banned from this site (which I know they've been itching to do for years now).  :)

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

20 November 2012
Orange? It was ORANGE?? You SHOULD be banned on aesthetic grounds if nothing else! (wink)

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

20 November 2012
And if they do ban you, we'll form taxnonsense.org and carry on regardless.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

20 November 2012
You can't carry on regardless, you can only carry it off.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

20 November 2012
Can I carry it forward? Or do I have to carry it back two tax years first?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

20 November 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv1aRz0vu4Q Let's see what Ray Charles has to say.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

2012-11-20
Orange you glad you asked?

Tom

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

21 November 2012
Yes, I bought an orange thong at Abercrombie & Fitche, but only because it was the only thing on sale. All the details are in History here. It's an episode of my life that I'm ambivalent about. On the one hand I wish I hadn't done it, but on the other hand it was great to feel the power of youth surge up inside me during my drive home (yes I wore my thong home from the store).

Now I know that clothes DO make the man.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

5 April 2013
PASSED!!!! Doing the Snoopy happy dance all the rest of the day today!!!!!

Podolin (talk|edits) said:

5 April 2013
Congratulations, both on passing and on spelling "bated" correctly!

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

5 April 2013
:) Thanks, Podolin!

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

5 April 2013
Would love to hear back from TaxJoy, but she hasn't posted anywhere on this site since April 2012.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

2013-04-06
Geez, it's about time... File:smile.jpg

Tom

Agham12 (talk|edits) said:

31 May 2013
Congrats Kevin! Now since you have passed the exam, would you be willing to sell the study material?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

31 May 2013
HA, no, I'm keeping all of it because I believe I'll be using it. I've had others ask the same thing. Plus I've agreed to coach some other folks who studied with me last year but did not pass. We kind of had a pact in our study group of 'no man left behind'.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

31 May 2013
A good agreement to have, Kevin. Now:

1) How did the celebration party go? Were there any orange thongs? And:

2) Have you gotten your wall license yet and if so, did you decide on solid gold or polished emerald for the frame?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

31 May 2013
1) I haven't even celebrated yet. Immediately after tax season my partner had open heart surgery and I have been the caregiver. I've only just returned to the office and am majorly behind at work.

2) Because I've just returned to work I literally just sent in my Oath of Office this week to the Clerk of the Court. Others who sent theirs in in April have received their certificates. Mine should come within a month. Yes, I'm going to go for the $350 frame.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

31 May 2013
ANNNNND add USTCP to your NAEA profile!

I gather the surgery went well. That's fine. Kinda puts the Tax Court business into perspective, though, doesn't it?

Sigh.

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