Tax Court Practice Note on Expert Evidence
One of the noblest aspects of practicing tax litigation is the privilege of appearing before the venerable Tax Court. The judges are brilliant, the registrar’s office and the administration are efficient and thoughtful. The Court is run well. Recently, the Court issued a Practice Note (linked below) on the Judge’s mandate in the context of expert testimony. It is brief, so no need to summarize it here. But I will say that this will help streamline expert evidence and make the process more efficient. Point 5 contains the following:
Before the hot tubbing panel is set, the Judge shall order the experts to meet pre-trial for them
to see if they can narrow the issues, discuss the points of disagreement and explore common areas.
The lawyers and parties may attend the meeting.
I was personally involved in the first expert pre-trial meeting in late 2017. It was a stroke of luck that our experts happened to be in Santa Monica, California. The experts, along with counsel for the Appellant and the Respondent (me at the time), met for several hours in a closed boardroom to discuss the issues in depth. We were successful in narrowing the issues down and narrowing the points of contention within the live issues. It was an extremely useful exercise one all involved parties benefitted from.
This is simply another example of the Court being proactive and trying to make the litigation process more efficient for everyone.