U.S. Tax Court

Counsel to Chief Judge (Reviewer)

U.S. Tax Court See More Job Openings by This EmployerArrow
  • Full Time
  • $163,964 - $191,900/year
  • Washington, DC
April 12, 2024 Attorney Tax Law

Job Description

This position is in the Office of the Chief Judge and reports directly to the Chief Judge. This vacancy is also posted as a Senior Level position and will be filled as either SL or GS-15 depending on applicant qualifications. The Counsel to the Chief Judge assists the Chief Judge with the review and analysis of Tax Court opinions pending release. The U.S. Tax Court is independent of the executive branch and has established a personnel system similar to the systems used by other Federal courts.

  • $163,964 - $191,900/year
Conditions of Employment

  • All Court employees are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct for U.S. Tax Court Employees.

  • Employment at the United States Tax Court is subject to the provisions of the United States Tax Court Personnel Management System, a distinct system of personnel management practices specific to the Court as authorized by Public Law 111-366.

  • The United States Tax Court Personnel Management System adheres to the provisions set forth in section 2301(b) of title 5, United States Code (Merit Systems Principles) and section 2302(b) of title 5, United States Code (Prohibited Personnel Practices). All United States Tax Court personnel must conduct themselves in accordance with these provisions.

  • Employment with U.S. Tax Court is "at-will;" employment may be terminated at any time by either party, with or without cause.

  • Those who are required must abide by Selective Service registration requirements.

  • Appointment to these positions is contingent upon favorable suitability determination and security background checks, which include a credit check and a criminal check.

  • A candidate selected for this position must be current on his or her Federal income tax obligations before employment with the U.S. Tax Court and must remain current at all times while employed by the U.S. Tax Court.

  • Continued employment post appointment is subject to satisfactory completion of the background investigation and credit check and favorable adjudication. A background reinvestigation or supplemental investigation may be required at a later time during employment.

  • All applicant information is subject to verification.

  • New appointments to the Federal service require a probationary period of 52 weeks. Appointments to the Tax Court from other Federal positions may require a probationary period of up to 52 weeks.

  • The Federal Financial Reform Act requires direct deposit of federal wages for Court employees.



The successful applicant should be a highly motivated self-starter, an organized team player, and must consistently exhibit good judgment and tact. To qualify for the position:

  • Candidates must be a graduate of a full course study in a School of Law (must have a J.D. or an LL.B. degree) accredited by the American Bar Association and a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

  • Must possess at least six years of legal professional experience as a private practitioner or as an attorney on the staff of a government law office or court, and managerial experience related to the field of litigation or adjudication. Managerial or legal experience within the Federal court system is preferred.

  • Ability to respond to requests on short notice and to manage multiple tasks and stringent deadlines.

  • Aptitude and experience dealing with professional legal staff, court personnel, federal agency officials, and the public and an ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing.

  • Solid critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.

Competencies Required for the Vacancy

  • Extensive professional tax experience, with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the principles of tax litigation.

  • A thorough knowledge and understanding of the Internal Revenue Code, the Regulations issued thereunder, and other Federal tax law authorities.

  • Familiarity with the appropriate judicial precedents in the field of Federal tax law as enunciated by the Tax Court and appellate Federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

  • Superior writing and communication skills.

  • Demonstrated skill and ability to exercise sound judgment and discretion in performing review duties.


The Counsel to the Chief Judge (Counsel) (GS-15) provides legal advice and assistance in complex matters of Federal tax law. The Counsel primarily assists the Chief Judge in reviewing non-precedential opinions that the other Judges of the Court submit to the Chief Judge to dispose of cases assigned to them. The responsibilities placed on the Counsel in this position are similar to some of those of judicial officers of the Court, subject to the supervision of the Chief Judge. Although the Counsel cannot assume final responsibility for disposing of cases, as must a Judge, he or she must possess the technical knowledge and judgment of a high order to properly discharge the trust imposed on the position and to warrant the confidence of the Court. The work of the Counsel is subject to review only by the Chief Judge or the full Court. The Counsel works independently performing analytical review and research duties. The Counsel works to ensure that Tax Court opinions, which are issued on a national basis, are consistent with each other.

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES: The Counsel is directly responsible for developing and rendering advice to the Court on legal and operational matters that include the following:

Review of Proposed Opinions

  • Reviews and analyzes opinions submitted to the Chief Judge; the purpose of this review is to determine the technical acceptability of the opinions and their consistency with the Court's judicial precedents and other relevant authorities.

  • Has responsibility for recognizing and bringing to the Chief Judge's attention all matters that might call into question whether an opinion represents a proper adjudication of the facts and issues presented. Prepares commentary to be appended to opinions in written memorandum form or discusses the questions or problems directly with the Chief Judge. Discusses with the Chief Judge whether a case requires review by the entire Court; may also recommend alternative disposition of a case or changes to be made to an opinion as supported by the facts and applicable law.

  • Advises and consults with the Chief Judge and Judges of the Court on questions of law and procedure and, upon request, advises Attorney-Advisers of the various Divisions of the Court.

  • Assists the Chief Judge (or other Judges, with the Chief Judge's approval) in preparing opinions in cases tried or assigned to the Chief Judge for disposition.

  • Performs other special assignments dealing with the Court's adjudicative work and requiring the application of the highest legal technical skill and judgment, a comprehensive knowledge of Federal tax law and procedure, and thorough familiarity with all branches of general law and legal procedure.

Legal Advice and Counsel

  • Advises the Court with respect to legal and related operational questions involved in a proposed course of action or the determination of any matter pending before the Court.

  • May assist in drafting proposed legislation and preparing and reviewing reports to be submitted by the Court to Congressional committees.

  • May be assigned by the Chief Judge to assist committees of the Court.

Education Candidates must be a graduate of a full course study in a School of Law (must have a J.D. or an LL.B. degree) accredited by the American Bar Association and a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Other Information

EFFECT OF EXCEPTED SERVICE APPOINTMENT IN THE U.S. TAX COURT ON COMPETIVE STATUS: Title 26, Section 7471(a)(9) provides that "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any employee of the Tax Court who has completed at least 1 year of continuous service under a non-temporary appointment with the Tax Court acquires a competitive status for appointment to any position in the competitive service for which the employee possesses the required qualifications."

Required Documents

Applicants may apply by submitting all of the following:

  1. A letter of interest/cover letter. Applications without a cover letter or letter of interest will not be considered.
  2. A resume highlighting relevant knowledge and experience. Your resume may be in any format you desire, but it must show beginning and ending dates for all periods of relevant experience and must make plain the level of responsibility held in each position.
  3. Informal transcripts showing your law degree.
  4. Certificate of Good Standing for State bar affiliation(s).
  5. If you have federal government experience, your most recent Notification of Personnel Action, SF-50.
  6. A supplemental written statement, not to exceed two pages, which provides a brief description of how your experience relates to the duties outlined in this vacancy announcement. Applications without a supplemental written statement will not be considered.
  7. The names and contact information of at least three professional references.

Format of Applications: Application materials must be formatted as Adobe Acrobat PDF to be considered. Microsoft Word documents will not be considered.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

How to Apply

Application documents must be received by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the closing date of this announcement. To begin your online application, click the Apply Online button and follow the prompts to register or sign into USAJOBS, take the online questionnaire, and submit the required documents. See Required Documents section for more details.

Questions regarding this announcement may be directed to the Office of Human Resources at (202) 521-4700 or by email at

The Court does not accept hard-copy application packages.
The Court reserves the right to modify the conditions of this job announcement or to withdraw the announcement, with or without prior written or other notice.

This announcement was extended on May 16, 2024, to May 30, 2024.


A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.

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