The Rules of Evidence and the Tax Court

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The Tax Court is a unique forum in which to litigate. The judges “circuit ride” (i.e., hear cases in various cities around the United States), making the court a forum available to all taxpayers. Each Tax Court judge is a tax expert who is responsible for deciding the outcome of the case; no jury trials are available. The taxpayer (almost) always has the burden of proof. Accordingly, the outcome of litigation often turns on what evidence the taxpayer is able to get before the Tax Court judge. This situation makes the rules of evidence particularly important to the tax professional. This is true for both those professionals with clients on the verge of litigation and those who are planning now to best position themselves for avoiding the time and expense of litigation at some point in the future.

This practical course from Bloomberg BNA, provides tax professionals with information on what criteria must be meet for evidence to be admissible in the Tax Court. It includes checklists, practice pointers, and examples from Tax Court case law.

During this webinar, Larson will cover:
• Who litigates in the Tax Court and why. 
• The three most common evidentiary rules evidence must meet to be admissible.
• What the court considers when determining if evidence is “relevant”.
• What “hearsay” is and when hearsay is admissible.
• What the court considers when determining if evidence is properly “authenticated”.
• What “privileges” are available and how they can be used to prevent information from being admitted into evidence. 

Educational Objectives:
• Identify who can be a United States Tax Court judge, when individuals are able to be heard by the Tax Court, and which kinds of professionals may practice before the Tax Court
• Pinpoint the three most common evidentiary rules of evidence that must be satisfied for evidence to be admissible in Tax Court
• Determine which kinds of evidence constitute hearsay and understand exceptions to the hearsay rule
• Recognize options a taxpayer has when it wants to challenge a tax deficiency
• Recall what constitutes “relevant” evidence and what privileges are available to taxpayers who wish to prevent evidence from being admitted.



Joni Larson, J.D., LL.M., is a Professor and Assistant Director of the Graduate Tax Program at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  She clerked for the Honorable Judge Irene Scott of the United States Tax Court, and then joined the Office of Chief Counsel as a tax litigator in the Austin, Texas, District Counsel Office.  She left government service to enter private practice, but eventually returned to government work.  She spent several years with the Passthroughs and Special Industries Branch of the Field Service Division of the National Office and, after the reorganization, worked in the Small Business/Self-Employed Division.  Currently she teaches individual taxation, business organizations, partnership taxation, and federal tax research.  Her publications include A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO TAX EVIDENCE (ABA); INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAXATION: AN APPLICATION APPROACH (Carolina Academic Press); PARTNERSHIP TAXATION:  AN APPLICATION APPROACH (2d Ed.) (Carolina Academic Press); PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS IN PARTNERSHIP TAX (Carolina Press); FEDERAL TAX RESEARCH (2d Ed.) (with Dan Sheaffer, Carolina Academic Press); VALUATION HANDBOOK (LexisNexis); and NATIONAL OFFICE PRACTICE (CCH).