Tax Court judges have experience either as former government lawyers or in the private sector at law firms. Of the thirty-two Tax Court judges, thirteen previously worked for the government as IRS lawyers; four were employed by the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.
The remaining judges have legal experience in the private sector (with the exception of two who were counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, and another judge who served as counsel to the House Ways and Means Committee). Sixteen have advanced masters degrees in tax law (LL.M).
Tax Court judges are appointed by the President for 15 year terms.
The judges travel to designated cities to decide the trials of the cases set to be heard during that visit – it is a “traveling court.” There are no jury trials in Tax Court; all cases are decided by the judge.
Tax Court judges are essential to due process – they provide an independent review of IRS actions (like audits and collection cases) when administrative attempts at resolution fail.