Special Counsel (NTA)

Washington, D.C
Nov 18, 2020
Nov 24, 2020
Full Time


The Office of Chief Counsel, IRS, the largest tax law firm in the country, is looking for enthusiastic individuals to join our team and gain valuable experience in a legal environment. Our mission is to serve America's taxpayers fairly and with integrity by providing correct and impartial interpretation of the internal revenue laws and the highest quality legal advice and representation for the Internal Revenue Service. It's a great place to work and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Learn more about this agency


The Special Counsel serves as legal staff official and confidential advisor to the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel (National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Program). The Office of the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel (NTA Program) is responsible for managing, directing and providing legal advice for programs and services related to the mission of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, known as the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) (see Internal Revenue Code section 7803(c)). The Special Counsel assists the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel in providing optimal legal support to the NTA and TAS. The Special Counsel works for, and represents, the executive and is involved in some of the most important and sensitive issues and other matters handled by that executive. The Special Counsel assists the executive in the formulation of policies and programs for the operation of the Office and performs special assignments of a case specific or project nature. The Special Counsel represents the executive in the regulations and ruling review process and acts as a personal consultant on a variety of legal matters.

As an attorney for the Office of Chief Counsel, National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Program)
  • Coordinates and monitors activities of Counsel's field and National Office functions to ensure responses are timely, of high quality, and responsive to the needs of the NTA and TAS. Provides recommendations to the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel, as needed, to improve operations and affect better service.
  • Assists the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel in the review and prioritization of NTA requests requiring resolution at the National Office level. Identifies legal issues involved and responds directly or directs to appropriate Counsel offices for handling. Works with staff(s) as needed, to formulate/polish final product.
  • Serves as point of contact for questions/issues relating to Counsel's role in providing legal support to the NTA and TAS. Provides legal advice to assist IRS staff in formulating assistance requests. Directs requests for assistance, and provides administrative liaison, when needed, to facilitate the processing of TAS requests involving Counsel field offices.
  • Provides legal assistance to the NTA and the NTA's headquarters employees in the review and resolution of taxpayer questions and complaints involving taxpayer rights, complex legal matters, and/or issues of extreme sensitivity. Identifies legal constraints/implications of proposed solutions, recommending potential courses of action when appropriate. Provides legal assistance in the review of Taxpayer Assistance Orders, Taxpayer Advocate Directives, legislative proposals, and other items under consideration.
  • Performs exhaustive and detailed research on complicated legal problems and prepares recommendations as to the position to be taken by the Office of the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel.
  • Prepares position papers and briefing memorandum on substantive policy and procedural issues for the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel, and/or the Chief Counsel/Deputy Chief Counsel.
  • Coordinates the participation of the Office of Chief Counsel in the development of reports and studies involving the NTA Program for use by Treasury and/or Congress. When requested, reviews for legal accuracy and coordinates review within Counsel of portions of the NTA's semiannual reports to Congress and assists in the preparation and drafting of testimony for Congressional hearings, and prepares responses to requests from Congress and other legislative agencies (e.g., OMB, GAO, etc.). Assists the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel in the preparation of data needed by the NTA for inclusion in the NTA's semiannual reports

Travel Required

Occasional travel - 5% or greater

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Must have your salary sent to a financial institution of your choice by Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds Transfer.
  • Must submit an annual OGE 450E Confidential Financial Disclosure Report.
  • A Public Trust Background Investigation required.


You must meet the following requirements by the closing date of this announcement:

To qualify for this position at the GS-15 grade level, you must have one year of specialized experience, equivalent in scope and effect to the GS-14 level.

Specialized experience: At least 52 weeks of the legal tax experience which included assignments involving complex and difficult legal questions requiring extensive research, analysis, and evaluation. In addition, the following experience is required:1) Experience in substantive federal tax issues impacting taxpayer rights or federal tax practice and/or tax administration or procedural issues; 2) Experience in working with issues that impact low income taxpayers; and 3) Experience advocating for taxpayer rights or improving tax administration to resolve systemic tax issues.
  • The J.D. and/or the LL.M. must be from an ABA-accredited law school.
  • Candidates must be admitted to practice law before the highest court of a state or territory of the United States; the District of Columbia; or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • Part-time work is considered on a prorated basis.
  • GS-15: You must have been at the GS-14 level for 52 weeks. (time-in-grade requirement)

The experience may have been gained in the public, private sector, or Volunteer Service . One year of experience refers to full-time work; part-time work is considered on a prorated basis.

To ensure full credit for your work experience, please indicate dates of employment by month/year, and indicate number of hours worked per week, on your resume.


Applicants must possess a J.D. and have one year of general legal experience plus three years of professional legal tax experience. An LL.M. degree in the field of the position (tax) may be substituted for one year of general legal experience listed above.

Specialized experience may have been gained while employed in a professional legal position in the Federal, state, or local government, the private sector including law firms, or nongovernmental organizations.

Additional information

  • We may select from this announcement or any other source to fill one or more vacancies.
  • This is a non-bargaining unit position.
  • We offer opportunities for telework.
  • We offer opportunities for flexible work schedules.

Salary will be set with respect to the location of the position.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Your application includes your resume and responses to the online questions and required supporting documents. Please be sure that your resume includes detailed information to support your qualifications for this position; failure to provide sufficient evidence in your resume will result in a "not qualified" determination.

Applicants will be considered based on their overall background as it relates to the position to be filled. All application materials and interviews, if conducted, will be used in the final evaluation and selection process.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, the Executive Resources Branch will assess your overall specialized knowledge and experience as it relates to the position to be filled, compare it to the other applicants' knowledge and experience and determine the candidate best qualified for the position. The board may or may not conduct interviews. You will be notified of the outcome.

Your application will be rated and ranked among others, based on your responses to the online questions, regarding your experience, training, performance appraisals and awards relevant to the duties of this position. Your rating may be lowered, if your responses to the online questions are not supported by the experience described in your application.

Referral: If you are among the top qualified candidates, your application may be referred to a selecting official for consideration. You may be required to participate in a selection interview.
To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

All applicants must submit the following documents: 1) Memorandum of Interest summarizing your interest in the position. 2) Resume detailing your relevant qualifications and specialized knowledge and experience. 3) A copy of your most recent official performance appraisal, or a progress review. 4) A Supervisory Report (ERB Form 1-88, Rev 4/2011) regarding your suitability for the position as completed by your current or most recent supervisor. You are responsible for notifying your supervisor that this report must be received no later than five workdays after the closing date of this announcement.

A complete application includes (1) a resume, (2) vacancy question responses, and (3) submission of any required documents. Please note that if you do not provide all required information, as specified in this announcement, you may not be considered for this position (or may not receive the special consideration for which you may be eligible).

All applicants are required to submit a resume either by creating one in USAJOBS or uploading one of their own choosing. We suggest that you preview the online questions, as you may need to customize your resume to ensure that it supports your responses to these questions. Please view resume tips .

Documentation Relating to Your Federal Employment

- Submit a copy of your SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which shows your current (or most recent) grade and competitive service status. (The "position occupied" block on the SF-50 should show a "1" or "2" and your "tenure" block should show a "1" or "2".)

- Indicate on your application the highest permanent grade you have held. If this grade is different from your current grade, submit a copy of an additional SF-50 showing this grade.

- Submit a copy of your most recent, signed, completed annual performance appraisal which includes the final rating. If the performance appraisal is not dated within the last 12 months or if you have not received a performance appraisal, please explain why in your application.

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.

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