Tax Court Blog Introduction

I’m pleased to be the newest member of the Blogger’s Crew and will use this opportunity to introduce myself. After working in several accounting departments, I became an enrolled agent in 1992. A member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) I served as Director since 5/05 and assumed Secretary/Treasurer duties on 5/9/08.

My eclectic practice, located in Southern California, includes tax CPR (consultation, preparation, representation) along with business consultation, compilation, and other services requested by my clients.

Following three months of study, on my first attempt, in 2000 I passed the Tax Court admission exam and became a nonattorney admitted to Tax Court practice in 2001. Based upon that experience I developed and teach a class to guide other professionals in taking and passing the admission exam – in fact our first session will occur in Las Vegas on 5/19-5/21. Our inaugural class for 2002 had 3 exam passers (out of 7 who passed that year), and in 2006 all 6 of the successful candidates were my students.

Additionally I teach other CPE courses, primarily about representation before the IRS or in Tax Court, and I have written articles published in CCH’s Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure and NAEA’s EAJournal. I was one of 8 enrolled agents who appeared on the Today Show 3/31/08 to answer viewer questions, and was Jean Chatzky’s guest on Oprah and Friends XM radio show 4/15/08.

While Circular 230 professionals (enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and attorneys) can represent taxpayers at all administrative levels within the IRS, only attorneys are readily admitted to practice before the Tax Court. Up until Congressional changes in 1942 admission to the Tax Court bar was automatic and available to all. All nonattorneys must take an arduous examination to demonstrate their proficiency in 4 topics; once admitted they have the same standing as attorneys, in that court venue only.

The exam is given every other year and is scheduled to take place 11/13/08 at the Tax Court building in Washington, DC. The topics tested include Federal Taxation (40%), Evidence (25%), Practice and Procedure (25%) and Legal Ethics (10%). It is a four hour, primarily essay examination, although there are some sections that only require “yes” or “no” answers or give brief calculations. Each section must be passed with a score of 70% or better and the entire exam must be passed in one attempt. Passing scores are traditionally very low, often with just 5-10% of the candidates succeeding. To say it is a difficult process is an understatement, but I believe it is a worthy endeavor for some professionals.

So, what will we talk about? We’ll discuss the Tax Court, its jurisdiction and procedure, and its relevance to today’s taxpayers. I suspect we’ll go into other areas as well. It’s uncharted territory for me and I’m anxious to see where this journey will take us.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions - direct email address is mbamstea@earthlink.net.

Sherrill L. Gregory, MBA, MST, EA, USTCP

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