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Many of the Tax Court petitions are filed by “pro” “se” (personal representation) petitioners. These are petitioners who choose to represent themselves rather than to hire an attorney.

When the Tax Court receives a petition, it forwards the petition to the Appeals Division of the IRS. The purpose for this action is for the taxpayer and the IRS to settle issues without going to Tax Court. Statistics reveal that 95% of Tax Court petitions are settled out of court.

So called Circular 230 tax practitioners (attorneys, CPAs and Enrolled Agents) may represent tax payers at the appeals level. Thus, pro se petitioners may receive professional guidance, which most need, without hiring an attorney.

Tax professionals that possess good tax research skills are best positioned to help the petitioner

Tax research skills require the researcher to follow the tax research process to arrive at the most up-to-date answers. Tax research tools are indeed important, but, not so much as following the process. Additionally, if the tax dispute involves the return for 2011, the most up-to-date answer is the tax laws as they were for 2011.