Getting Into the Tax Court

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Yesterday, the Tax Court entered Administrative Order 2022-01 setting out the guidelines for entry in the Tax Court’s building in Washington, D.C. and entry into the courtrooms where it sits around the country.  The rules go into effect on August 29, 2022.  The order repeals the guidelines set out in a pair of administrative orders issued last year and updates its procedures.  There are separate rules for going into the building in DC and going into the courtrooms around the country.  Keep in mind that the Tax Court’s courtrooms around the country whether permanent or borrowed are almost always in federal buildings which could have their own rules about entry.  So, if you are going to a Tax Court proceeding outside of Washington, you need to find the rules for the building in which the Tax Court’s courtroom sits in addition to knowing the rules the Tax Court is setting out.

Washington D.C. Courthouse

Before entering the Washington, D.C. courthouse, all entrants (i.e., trial participants, visitors, employees, and contractors), are asked to self-certify that the answer to each of the health screening questions listed below is “no.” If the answer to any of the screening questions is “yes,” the entrant should not enter the courthouse.

1. Have you tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 10 days?

2. Have you experienced any of the following symptoms within the past 10 days? The symptoms are fever (a temperature more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

3. Are you isolating or quarantining because you may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or are worried that you may be sick with COVID- 19?

4. Are you currently waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test due to recent exposure or symptoms of illness?

The self-certification requirement (COVID-19 Self-Certification) will be posted at the entrance to the Washington, D.C. courthouse and outside courtrooms in other locations.  An individual who tests positive for COVID-19 within 5 days of entering the D.C. courthouse should immediately notify the Court. Court employees and contractors who work at the D.C. courthouse must follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isolation protocols.

In addition to the rules for getting into the DC courthouse, the order also provides rules for going into courtrooms around the country.

In-Person Court Proceedings

In addition to COVID-19 Self-Certification, trial participants, witnesses, and members of the public observing proceedings must register attendance via QR Code for entry into a Tax Court in-person proceeding at any location. The QR Code will be posted outside the courtroom and the registration may be accessed via a mobile device. The questions for contact tracing are:
• Name
• Phone number with Area Code
• Email Address
• Place of Trial
• Date of Trial

Rapid testing is recommended prior to entry.

The protocols will take a little time to meet as you enter the courtroom and provide another reason for arriving early.

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