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This series specification describes four classifications used by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the Board of Equalization (BOE) to provide specialized legal services concerned with the administration of California tax law.
This series is available for use only by the FTB and the BOE.
Incumbents in these classes study, interpret, and apply laws, regulations, court decisions, and other legal authorities as required.
Typical tasks performed by Tax Counsels engaged in administering those provisions of the Revenue and Taxation Code for which the FTB and BOE have responsibility include, but are not limited to: applying and interpreting complex law involving individuals or sophisticated and unique business organizations and other governmental entities; conducting research and drafting legal opinions, position papers, rulings, briefs, orders, and pleadings; participating as departmental attorney or as hearing officer in connection with administrative proceedings involving proposed tax assessments or claims for refund; advising the FTB, BOE, departmental staff, local government entities, and the public with respect to the application of complex tax laws; appearing before the BOE in support of departmental positions, acting as departmental counsel with respect to personnel matters, and appearing in that capacity before both administrative law judges, boards, commissions, and the judiciary; assisting in court proceedings and pretrial discovery matters; supporting the attorney general in litigation against the Department and coordinating departmental efforts in that regard; drafting of legislation, regulations, and interpretive opinions; assisting in bankruptcy proceedings; advising departmental personnel with respect to the legal ramifications of proposed actions; working with advisory committees, citizens' groups, legislative, and professional associations on studies of ways to improve the laws administered by the FTB and BOE; speaking before tax forums, conferences, professional groups, and negotiating with outside counsel on the legal aspects of major tax disputes; and advising the respective Boards, departmental staff, and the public with respect to confidentiality of tax return information.
Classes in this series generally perform similar duties. Differences between classes are determined primarily by (1) the level of difficulty, complexity, and sensitivity of the assignments given to the incumbent, (2) the degree of independence with which the incumbent performs an assignment, (3) the experience and expertise which the incumbent brings to those assignments, and (4) the value of the services rendered by the incumbent to the Department and to State service.
Entry into this series requires membership in The California State Bar. The class of Graduate Legal Assistant, which requires eligibility to take the California State Bar examination, may also be used to recruit those interested in entry into this series.
This is a recruitment and developmental class for persons qualified to practice law in the State of California. Incumbents assigned to Range A perform the least difficult professional legal work in the FTB or BOE. Based upon the appropriate alternate range criteria, incumbents advance to Range B, C, and D, and are assigned progressively more difficult professional legal work as their competency increases. Incumbents assigned to Range D are assigned the more complex and sensitive legal work in this class.
Incumbents in this class are well-experienced advanced or full journey level attorneys who have the experience and have developed the expertise necessary to capably perform the most complex and sensitive legal work of the FTB or BOE on an independent basis. A Tax Counsel III (Specialist) is usually assigned only the most important legal work such as (1) analyzing and advising on very complex tax questions arising under the laws administered by the FTB or BOE; (2) preparing arguments and responsive pleadings involving the most difficult tax issues at the judicial and administrative levels; and (3) drafting and analyzing complex legislation, opinions, rules, and regulations.
A Tax Counsel III (Specialist) may act in a lead capacity over the work of other attorneys.
This is the first supervisory level. Incumbents plan, organize, and direct the work of a small staff of FTB or BOE attorneys and, in addition, develop strategy in complex State tax disputes or litigation. They may also personally participate in the most difficult and complex litigation matters, negotiation, hearings, legal research, and opinion drafting.
Incumbents in this class are the most experienced attorneys who are experts in a broad or specialized area of law. They have demonstrated their ability to independently perform assignments consisting of the most complex and sensitive legal work of the department and consistently produce favorable results on these matters. Incumbents in this class are typically assigned the most complex legal matters and/or litigation of the greatest difficulty which include, but are not limited to, handling cases that are very likely to be appealed to the highest courts.
A Tax Counsel IV may act in a lead capacity over the work of other attorneys.
All classes require active membership in The State Bar of California. (Applicants who are not members of The California State Bar but who are eligible to take The California State Bar examination or are in their final year of law school will be admitted to the examination but will not be considered eligible for appointment until they are admitted to The State Bar of California.)
Active membership in The State Bar of California.
Six years of legal experience in the practice of law* in a governmental jurisdiction or in private practice, including three years of legal experience in the practice of tax law or directly related legal experience, including administrative and/or civil litigation. (Applicants who have completed five years and six months of legal experience and two years and six months of tax law or directly related legal experience, including administrative and/or civil litigation, will be admitted into the examination, but must complete the required six years of legal experience including the three years of tax law or directly related legal experience, including administrative and/or civil litigation, before they will be eligible for appointment.)
Ten years of legal experience in the practice of law* in a governmental jurisdiction or in private practice, including four years of legal experience in the practice of tax law or directly related legal experience, including administrative and/or civil litigation, at a level of responsibility equivalent to a Tax Counsel III. (Applicants who have completed nine years and six months of legal experience, including three years and six months of tax law or directly related legal experience, including administrative and/or civil litigation, at a level of responsibility equivalent to a Tax Counsel III, will be admitted into the examination, but must complete the required ten years of legal experience, including the four years of tax law or directly related legal experience administrative and/or civil litigation, at a level of responsibility equivalent to a Tax Counsel III, before they will be eligible for appointment.)
* Experience in the “practice of law” or “performing legal duties” is defined as: (1) only that legal experience acquired after admission to any State Bar, or (2) experience as a judicial clerk for a federal court, California's state courts, or any other state's courts, or (3) legal experience acquired while practicing under a provisional license to practice law issued by the State Bar of California’s Provisional Licensure Program, to constitute experience in the practice of law. For an individual's judicial clerkship to qualify as experience in the “practice of law” or “performing legal duties,” the experience must have been gained after receipt of a Juris Doctor or equivalent degree.
Knowledge of: How to conduct legal analysis (e.g., issue-spotting, rule analysis, applying law to facts) to ensure relevant issues and information are identified; principles and practices for properly conducting legal research, such as ensuring law is current (i.e., Shepardizing) and checking for recent amendments to statutes; general principles of jurisprudence including statutory construction and stare decisis; English language including: grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence and paragraph structure, organization, and appropriate vocabulary; how to prepare the most common types of legal documents in an effective, clear, and persuasive manner (e.g., briefs, motions, pleadings, contracts, stipulations, declarations, determination letters, etc.); how to communicate in a persuasive fashion to influence the listener(s); and available research sources, both printed and electronic, to complete legal research, including what types of material they contain, where they are located, and their breadth, depth, and relative strengths and weaknesses. Examples include primary legal texts, secondary legal texts, and electronic databases; how to prepare clear and effective formal correspondence to a variety of recipients; how to use computers to create documents, conduct research, and communicate; and how to use a variety of software applications.
Skill in: Reading and comprehending written documents such as contracts, statutes, regulations, legal rulings, case law, etc; analyzing arguments in order to effectively address them; summarizing relevant facts in order to capture the key points and implications; determining relevant legal issues to be addressed; editing written documents for accuracy and effectiveness; identifying issues relevant to a question/matter given the available information and applicable law, in order to prioritize the critical elements to be addressed; ranking pending matters in order of importance to work effectively and meeting deadlines without sacrificing the quality of work products; planning work within given time constraints, continually monitoring progress, and adjusting current work focus to meet deadlines; properly identifying the nature of problems, generating alternatives, and implementing solutions and approaches that successfully address the problems; efficiently locating relevant or useful information from a large volume of documents; behaving towards others with respect, courtesy, and tact to enhance communication and helping ensure a positive reputation for the department; communicating legal principles, facts, and position(s) in a logical, respectful, and articulate manner to various audiences and forums using tone, vocabulary, format, and grammar appropriate to the circumstances; using computer hardware and software to effectively communicate with others, access files, and produce written job-related documents; working cooperatively and productively as a member of a team to achieve a common goal; and presenting oneself in an appropriately professional manner in all circumstances.
Ability to: Analyze information and detect potential logical, legal, and/or factual flaws in arguments or assumptions; reason logically in order to research, investigate, and plan the development of a project or case; attend to details in order to perform work in an accurate and thorough manner; conceptualize large, long-term projects as a series of distinct tasks to prioritize them; recognize the merits in the opinions of internal and external stakeholders to reach a compromise; organize thoughts before communicating to ensure concise and logical expression; identify situations in which available information, resources, or capabilities are insufficient to complete work tasks in order to seek assistance when needed; work quickly in order to complete urgent projects assigned without prior notice; successfully complete multiple projects simultaneously (i.e., multi-task) within appropriate timeframes while maintaining a high level of work performance; and accept constructive criticism regarding work products and practices to continually improve work performance.
A greater degree of knowledge, skill, and abilities is required at each higher level.
Knowledge of: In addition to the above, Department's policies regarding confidential taxpayer information; general principles of jurisprudence including statutory construction and stare decisis; legal principles and interpretive case law underlying the Internal Revenue Code, the California Revenue and Taxation Code, other applicable codes, and their supporting regulations; Federal and State Constitutions, Internal Revenue Code, the California Revenue and Taxation Code, other applicable codes, case law and their supporting regulations as they relate to the specific job assignment; and Department's sexual harassment policy.
Skill in: In addition to the above, organizing and making effective formal and informal presentations for various purposes and audiences (e.g., administrative hearings, Board Meetings, internal briefings, meetings, settlement negotiations, etc.); weighing the relative advantages and disadvantages of potential actions and determining the appropriate steps to take; understanding and explaining computations and schedules (e.g., penalty, interest, tax, etc.); and providing guidance, direction, and training to colleagues to ensure quality work products.
Knowledge of: In addition to the above, knowledge of a manager's/supervisor's role in promoting Equal Employment Opportunity in hiring, employee development, and promotion; and the principles and techniques of personnel management and supervision.Ability to: In addition to the above, effectively supervise the work of subordinate personnel; effectively contribute to the Department's equal employment goals; and planning, organizing, and directing the work of others.
Knowledge of: In addition to the above, the Board's organization and procedures to effectively complete assignments.
Ability to: In addition of the above, apply legal principles and statutes across program areas and provide constructive criticism to improve work performance.
All employees shall have general qualifications as described by California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 172.