Tax Law Institute | 1717 N Street NW | Washington, DC 20036 | +1(202) 800-9230
Tax Law Institute | 1717 N Street NW | Washington, DC 20036 | +1(202) 800-9230
Remote Student Trial Practice at the Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic 501(c)(3)
Prepare for the 2025 U.S. Tax Court Bar Examination. Subscribe to our digital self-study portal for price of $3995. All tested subjects. Access prior non-attorney exam questions and our suggested answers; get access to important cases and notable published opinions; and self-test with pop quizzes with answers.
Join our real-time Saturday classes that start on January 13, 2024.
Fee: $995 per course (except Sub. Tax)
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The Tax Law Institute offers the only digital U.S. Tax Court Litigator training program for non-lawyers in the country. Christopher Kelaher M. Sc. Management M.Sc. Taxation, a '23 tax bar candidate, serves as the interim administrator. He holds a master's degree in management from Harvard University as well as a master's degree in taxation. Mr. Kelaher was first designated Program Assistant, a position he held until he became a Teaching Assistant in January 2022. The content of the THINKIFIC application was imputed by Rod Monger who previously served as Interim Director of Tutorial Services. He is an E.A. and teaching specialist in financial accounting. His practice area of interests is in tax fraud and evasion defense. He holds a Ph.D., MBA in Accounting and B.A. in Economics from the University of Houston. Aside from his work on the digital platform, Mr. Monger was also an invaluable assistant during the organizing and funding of the Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic, that was awarded a grant to operate an IRS low-income tax clinic on the islands in 2021 but is not funded in 2022.
The Tax Law Institute organized the Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic aka Hawaii Low Income Tax Clinic (Hawaii LITC) in summer 2020. Located in downtown Honolulu, the Clinic is a "no-fee" low-income tax facility. Generously supported by the Tax Law Institute, the clinic was approved in November 2020. The Clinic opened its doors on May 1, 2021, and is staffed by local residents. TLI Faculty member and clinic co-founder, Janean Kong, E.A. and Hawaii state-certified professional is a graduate of the University of Hawaii Program in Professional Accounting. She serves as the Clinic Director. Ms. Kong manages three volunteers. Terra Malia Foti serves as volunteer Executive Assistant to the Clinic Director Terra is skilled in marketing. Oversight is provided by a Board of Directors composed of two federal tax experts and a tax litigator-CPA. Michael Stuart J.D. MPA serves as IRS-designated Project Director and President of the nonprofit corporation. The Clinic expects to be again funded by the IRS Tax Payer Advocate Service in 2024. Additional offices will provide services on the island of Maui.
Deficiency actions, pleadings, pretrial procedures, and litigation are explained by our IRS-approved CPE provider, Michael Stuart J.D. MPA and former chairperson of the joint litigation training program at the University of Alabama School of Law Graduate Tax Program and Tax Law Institute. He is professor emeritus and teaching specialist for non-attorney bar preparation, litigation and trial practice. Mr. Stuart is approved by The Florida Bar as CLE provider of Federal Tax Law to attorneys and delivers his programming via THINKIFIC, an electronic application linked to TLI's educational platform. He is also the architect of the pro bono legal representation program and co-founder of the TLI- and IRS-funded Hawaii Low Income Federal Tax Clinic in Honolulu. He is also the Lexis Nexis liaison. Mr. Stuart is a former White House tax policy advisor and past visiting scholar of public policy (taxation) appointee at Yale Law School. He was special consultant to Harvard University for banking, auditing and finance. Previously, he spent 20 years on Wall Street where he helped to finance and build $45,000,000 of affordable housing during the height of a national homeless crisis. He is the coordinator of the Student Trial Practice Program at Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic.
Louis L.B. Carpenter CPA CFA USTCP, has been in Federal tax practice as a CPA for almost 30 years. He is also a Certified Financial Planner. Mr. Carpenter is an admitted member of the Tax Court bar and serves as Chief Tax Litigation Counsel and Tax Practice Director. He is co-founder and board member, and pro bono legal representative of the Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic in Honolulu. Aside from providing litigation services, he is often called upon to express his knowledge of the IRC and caselaw as an expert witness. He trained in U.S. Tax Court litigation and trial practice at TLI where he was named Judicial Merit Scholar. He was degreed with the B.Sc. in Accounting at the University of Miami. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at TLI and as an advisor to the Charitable Giving Program at the Tax Law Institute.
Now, in full retirement, the Honorable Judge John F. Dean J.D. LL.M. served as the Distinguished Judicial Speaker at the Tax Law Institute from 2014-20. He was appointed Dean of Faculty in 2021. Judge Dean joined the Tax Law Institute upon his retirement from the bench on the U.S. Tax Court, where he sat for twenty years. During his time at TLI, Judge Dean worked to develop the first litigation training and trial practice program for non-lawyers in the United States. As the Distinguished Judicial Speaker Emeritus, Judge Dean does, on occasion, continue to offer insights into federal tax laws and tax court trial practice and litigation. His educational contribution “opened the door” for non-attorneys to hone skills previously held only by tax lawyers. Consequent to his efforts, TLI-trained litigators have achieve some of the best litigation results in the Tax Court. Read his story in January 2021 Attorney at Law Magazine.
Our Federal tax research is provided by James H. Chapman E.A. M.A. MPA, an expert in tax accountancy, auditing, and fraud detection. He is an IRS Enrolled Agent, National Tax Institute Fellow and co-founder of Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic. He follows Congressional legislative outcomes related to U.S. Treasury Regulations and the Internal Revenue Code from which they are derived. He is one of the longest- serving faculty members at the Tax Law Institute and is active during the 2023 Testing Cycle as Lecturer Emeritus. Mr. Chapman's principal role is that of Chief Tax Accountant for the corporate affiliates. He is also the coordinator of the TLI Professional Practice Program that offers joint training for practice before the IRS and USTC. He earned the M.A. and M.P.A. from Webster College. He is the 2023 FY chairman of the Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic Board of Directors. He teaches the Gleim course in Foundational Tax during the 2023 Testing Cycle and serves as academic advisor to 2021 non-attorney bar applicants.
Lorraine (Lorry) Sorgman E.A. USTCP, better known as just `Lorry’ has been an Enrolled Agent since1987. Ms Sorgman earned both her BS in Business Administration and her Master of Science in Taxation from Suffolk University. Ms Sorgman is among a handful of Enrolled Agents permitted to practice in the United States Tax Court.
Ms. Sorgman is a Fellow and former President of NTPI’s Graduate Fellows’ Association. She has presented workshops on Real Estate for Real Estate Professionals;; Burden of Proof; and Privilege for Federally Authorized Tax Practitioners (Beast or Burden); Practitioner Penalties; and Collection Alternatives with the IRS; Family Daycare Providers, Record keeping and Taxation; Tax Practice Management in the Electronic Age; Taxpayer Representation; Offer In Compromise; and has successfully defended a case in the United States Tax Court on whether an MBA is a valid deductible employee business expense. Ms. Sorgman was the 2002 recipient of the Massachusetts Enrolled Agent of the Year, and the 2009 recipient as Mentor of The Year, awarded by the National Association of Enrolled Agents.
Now, in full retirement, the Honorable Judge John F. Dean is the Dean Emeritus of Faculty at the Tax Law Institute and Distinguished Judicial Speaker Emeritus. He is a former Special Trial Judge of the U.S. Tax Court. Previously, he served as an attorney in the IRS Office of General Counsel in both the domestic and international sections. He entered legal practice in 1974 as Government counsel. He was appointed to the bench in 1994 by President Clinton. His numerous cases are archived among thousands held by the U.S. Tax Court. He has distinguished himself as the only former U.S. Tax Court Special Trial Judge ever to oversee non-attorney bar preparation and practice in the history of the Court. For the last six years, he served as a judicial educator and speaker at the Tax Law Institute where he prepared federally authorized tax practitioners (FATPs) to pass the difficult Tax Court Non-attorney Examination. His judicial guidance and insight contributed to the skills-set currently held by IRS enrolled agents and CPAs applicants who were subsequently admitted to practice before the Court as United States Tax Court Practitioners aka Tax Litigation Counsels.
The previously scheduled 2021 Guest Speaker, T. Keith Fogg who directs Harvard Law School's Federal Tax Clinic at the Legal Services Center became overwhelmed so L.B. Carpenter CPA USTCP, graciously stepped-in as his replacement for 2021Tax Bar Review. L.B. joined the Tax Law Institute faculty in 2017 after being named Judicial Merit Scholar. He was elected to the board of the Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic in 2020 and serves as the pro bono legal representative for its taxpayer clients. Last year, he became chief litigator and tax practice director. He was one of the early advisors and advocates for Tax Law Institute's undertaking to establish the Hawaii Federal Tax Clinic which opened its doors on May 1, 2021, to serve the taxpayers living on the Hawaiian Islands. That clinic is modeled on the HLS operation in Boston that is run by Professor Fogg. He has operated his own accounting firm for over 30 years. He has handled all sorts of cases before the IRS and has extensive experience with international transactions. We are fortunate to list him as a lecturer.
LEARN FROM THE IRS LITIGATOR "WHO WROTE THE BOOK" ON TAX EVIDENCE
The Evidence Section of the Non-attorney Examination continues to be problematic for test applicants. Along with the Substantive Tax Law section, most candidates who are unsuccessful attribute their failure to pass one or both of these sections. Professor Joni Larson literally wrote the book on Tax Evidence. Anyone who opts to practice in the U.S. Tax Court should and must read her book, A Practitioner's Guide to the Federal Rules of Evidence as Applied by the Tax Court, 2nd Edition. Her writing delineates the specific FRE sections that a FATP must know in order to engage in trial practice and litigate a case in this Federal tax forum most often selected by taxpayers to challenge a deficiency determination made by the IRS. Students who have studied using Larson's book cite her unique ability to clearly explain evidentiary principles and their application in an easy-going manner such that readers are able to grasp the context quickly. They also say that Professor Larson's materials are well-written and address common questions and are extremely thought-provoking. Generally, she opens her written work with a clear introduction to the content. She is very careful to identify the operative terminology that appears in materials. Usually, she often employs the IRAC method - issue, rule, analysis and conclusion - to define the "call" of the question. By doing so, applicants are quick to understand the logic of her writing. Less astute participants find this approach to be especially helpful in putting them at ease with the subject. Overall, she is described as a very good communicator and excellent writer. Hear her lectures on audio tapes to ensure that you pass. You can buy them from us. Please know that this course is also moderated by Judge Dean.
HEAR DISINGUISHED TRIAL ATTORNEYS & USTCPs DISCUSS THE RULES OF THE COURT
Non-attorneys who are authorized to practice in the U.S. Tax Court are required to have intimate knowledge and command of the Court's rules of practice and procedure. It is essential to successful practice in that legal forum. As you prepare to take the November 2025 Non-Attorney Examination have you asked yourself if you really know and understand the rules of practice and procedure? Do you know what Rule 34 tells you what you must do when you write a Petition for Redetermination? Do you know what rule speaks to documents included in the "initial pleadings"? Do you know how to define a Rule 122 case? Or what about Rule 121? What is its relationship to the Summary Judgment Motion? And what about a Rule 37(c) Motion? When can it be filed and under what circumstances will this motion be granted? And these are just a few of the rules that are listed on the U.S. Tax Court website. After you participate in our virtual bar admissions preparation program you will know all the Rules and how and when to apply them. Don't forget that should enroll in our prep courses that presented each month during winter, spring and summer prior to the 2023 exam.
Tax Evidence is being offered first because it seems to be the most difficult and therefore requires more time to teach. TLI will conduct workshops in Tax Evidence prior to a three-hour class moderated by our resident tax evidence scholar, with contributions from Judge Dean. Michael Stuart will coordinate tutorials each week that will cover the "evidentiary landscape" for new-comers to the subject. They will be an opportunity for applicants to work through the "gray matter" that clarify some of the less obvious concepts that bar applicants miss. Also, be sure to listen to the audio tapes on this subject.
WHAT TO EXPECT TO SEE IN THE SUBSTANTIVE TAX LAW SECTION
It used to be that the Substantive Tax Law section of the Non-Attorney Examination could be predicted to be a series of questions that tested applicants on Tax Court jurisdiction or the procedural significance of the deficiency notice. Well...that prediction is still somewhat accurate. The exception is that the Substantive Tax sections on the 2018 exam contained eighteen questions that pertained to cases that were decided since the administration of the previous Tax Court exam in 2016. Test-takers had to have read the published opinions that spoke to those rulings in order to have answered correctly each of questions posited. On the 2021 exam, test-takers expected the same but the examiners didn't ask about cases or opinions. So, we anticipate that the next exams in 2023 and 2025 will be focused on cases and opinions going as far back as 2021 and 2022, respectively. And we're predicting about anywhere from 16-18 questions that can appear on the next exam, possibly worth 20 points. And, of course, don't forget about those traditional queries that speak to basic principles of individual taxation, estate and gift tax, tax procedure and legal analysis as well as the structure and history of the Internal Revenue Code as amended, and the general subject of the revenue laws and the interpretation placed thereon by the Court in leading cases. And let us emphasis, once again, because of its importance, the constitutional and general substantive law applicable to Tax Court cases. And lastly, the notable published Opinions written by judges of the U.S. Tax Court during 2022 and 2023 and the first eight months of 2024. Be sure to prepare briefs of the opinions to make them easier to review. And please remember, remote test-taking is more challenging than in-class testing. Be sure to hear our audio lectures on this subject.
LEARN THE ABA MODEL RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Up until the Watergate era (early '70s), individuals who were trained in the law and admitted to practice were considered to be "above reproach". But the actions of an American president - the commander and chief - and presumably, a trained lawyer and respected member of the bar, changed that perception, forever.
Post-Watergate required the American Bar Association (ABA) to revisit the ethical guidelines that were then in place and to order reform. The results are the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility that we have today. These rules tell the lawyer what he can and cannot do in his relationships with clients, tribunals, colleagues, and interactions with the general public. United States Tax Court Practitioners are required to abide by the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Consequently, applicants for the Non-Attorney Examination in November 2023 are required to study and learn the ethical rules of conduct which are tested and account for 10% of the overall grade. Once the ethics rules are mastered, most applicants find the Legal Ethics questions on the exam to be some of the easiest to answer thus this section is often the first completed by test applicants. It is a good idea to read the Ethics rules once each day during the months before the administration of the exam. They are fairly easy to master and appear in a sequence that makes them seem to be the most logical of all the rules, e.g. evidentiary rules and U.S. Tax Court rules of practice and procedure. It is advisable to get started early in your memorization of these rules rather than wait until the last minute. Also, purchase the audio tapes on this subject. They are helpful.
WHAT'S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT ABOUT THE 2023 EXAM?
Practicing answering prior years' test questions is probably the best way to prepare for the next Non-Attorney Examination. Questions reappear during every testing cycle that mimic or flat-out re-state, almost word-for-word, questions that posted during the previous testing cycle. Nevertheless, everyone who had familiarized him/herself with the exam recognized that in 2021, the format of the non-attorney examination changed, yet again. That change was most apparent in the Substantive Tax Law section of the exam. Unlike the 2018 exam, the 2021 exam reverted to question-types which had traditionally appeared in prior exams as a "problem-solving" regimen of word problems that gave rise to multiple calculations. For the remote test-taker, these proved to be just as time-consuming and tedious. Unlike the 2018 text, the examiners instituted "word problems" but they didn't ask the test-taker to recount facts and circumstances surrounding notable cases and opinions or around tax events that created precedent among the annals of the Court. Interestingly, that was also the case on the 2021 exam. Nevertheless, Evidence, Legal Ethics and Rules of Practice and Procedure remained unchanged. Consequently, mock testing for the 2023 exam will therefore focus on preparing test-takers to pass the remote exam with the more challenging 2021 format. So, prepare with us. Review Evidence, Ethics, Rules of Practice and Procedure and Substantive Tax Law. As always, the latter will no doubt be the most problematic section of the 2023 Exam, so we'll pay the most attention to Substantive Tax Law. Our 10-session Gliem course in Foundational Tax is therefore not to be missed.
LISTEN, TALK AND LEARN FROM THE TOP LEGAL & TEST-TAKING EXPERTS!
These discussions are presented by the Teaching Faculty and previously included instructions from the TLI dean emeritus and distinguished Judicial speaker, former special trial judge, John F. Dean of the U.S. Tax Court. He was joined with a tax evidence scholar, procedural expert and tax accountant. The combined faculty discussed test-taking techniques and engage the applicants in writing answers to test questions to get through the 4-hour remote exam.
This testing cycle, L.B. Carpenter, a Judicial Merit Award recipient, who passed the non-attorney exam during the first administration will talk about how he prepared and the approach he took when he sat for the exam. Jim Chapman, TLI's director of Federal Tax Research will speak to the difficult word problems and time-consuming calculations that usually appear in the Substantive Tax Law section of the exam. Prior to the exam, he will walk applicants through a Gleim review of foundational tax topics that extends from 8-10 weeks. Unfortunately, every testing cycle, test candidates failed to recognize the benefits of attending his classes and often are full of regret after the exam for not doing so. This is a common mistake most often committed by enrolled agents and some CPAs who deem themselves to be "proficient" in tax accounting and not in need of any further instruction or guidance. One can only imagine their chagrin post-2021 non-attorney exam. The Tax Court has tested and will continue to test the computational skills of bar-tested candidates. Nonetheless, applicants must achieve 70% minimum grade in each of the four tested subjects to pass the exam. The next exam, 2025, will be administered remotely in November 2025.
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