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May 20, 2021

Judge Peter J. Panuthos receives Distinguished Service Award from ABA Tax Section

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2021 — Judge Peter J. Panuthos, special trial judge of the United States Tax Court, has received the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation Distinguished Service Award, the section’s highest honor.

The award, presented at the recent annual May Tax Meeting, is given to individuals who have had a distinguished career in taxation and who have provided an aspirational standard for all tax lawyers to emulate.

Panuthos, who has been a special trial judge in the U.S. Tax Court since 1983, also served as chief special trial judge from 1992 to 2017. He has also served as a trial attorney and assistant district counsel in the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel in Boston where he managed tax litigation in the Tax Court. Through his remarkable legal and leadership ability, he has made a unique contribution to the tax dispute process, especially in response to the needs of pro se taxpayers.

The Brooklyn, New York, native often observed the distress of taxpayers who were self-represented. Panuthos recognized early that low-income taxpayer clinics (LITCs) could provide pro bono assistance and access to justice for Tax Court petitioners. He has worked with clinical and pro bono programs throughout the country, and with the ABA and appropriate committees to assist low-income litigants.

Panuthos devoted his considerable talents towards nurturing these programs and strengthening their relationship with the Tax Court. His efforts helped bring about court policies such as rules and procedures allowing students to represent petitioners in the Tax Court if supervised by an experienced Tax Court practitioner. Today, the Tax Court may have one of the best programs for assisting self-represented parties operated by any federal court.

The ABA Tax Section also honored Panuthos in 2014 with its Janet R. Spragens Pro Bono Award for outstanding sustained achievement and commitment in pro bono activities.

Panuthos is an adjunct professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center. He has also taught at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and Bentley College.

He received his B.S. from Bryant College, J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law and a LLM in taxation from Boston University Law School.

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