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U.S. Tax Court Pro Bono Opportunities

 

VOLUNTEER AT THE U.S. TAX COURT DOCKET CALL
DATES AND TIMES: December 1st and December 8th


The U.S. Tax Court will hold its Docket Calls in Denver at 10:00 a.m. on December 2nd and January 13th. In 1999 the Executive Tax Council of the Colorado Bar Association Section on Taxation established the Tax Court Pro Se Program in an attempt to assist pro se U.S. Tax Court petitioners. The Tax Court Pro Se program was created in response to a perceived need to provide assistance to petitioners who might not otherwise have access to legal help. The help provided is limited to discussing a pro se petitioner’s case at the time of the docket call in order to provide guidance on how the case might be resolved. Attorneys participating at the docket call do not enter appearances on behalf of pro se taxpayers.

Volunteer attorneys meet at the U.S. Tax Court at 1929 Stout Street at 9:30 a.m. Before the cases are called, the presiding judge, at his or her discretion, announces the availability to pro se taxpayers of the opportunity to discuss their case with a volunteer attorney. Once the judge announces the availability of legal assistance, the calendar call begins; if a pro se litigant expresses an interest in meeting with a volunteer they adjourn to an attorney conference room and discuss the merits of their case, the statutes at issue or any procedural matters that may be relevant. A meeting with the government’s attorney may take place to request a joint motion for a continuance, to discuss a resolution of the case or to work out procedural matters. An attorney volunteer does not, and under the guidelines established for the program, cannot, enter an appearance in any of the cases in which he or she advises. Assistance is limited to meeting informally with the litigants.

Members of the Tax Section are encouraged to volunteer for this program, which usually requires a commitment of half of a day. No advance preparation is necessary and the docket call is usually over before 12:00 p.m.

Volunteering for this program is an excellent opportunity to see the Tax Court in action and become familiar with both its procedures and the tax attorneys working in Colorado, for petitioners and for the government. Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Tyler Murray at tcm@murray-wright.com for more details.

U.S. Tax Court Pro Se Program Guidelines