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Senate panel leaders back Obama nominees for Tax Court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the Senate's tax-writing committee on Tuesday urged the panel approve two of President Barack Obama's nominees to be judges at the U.S. Tax Court, and the panel's top Republican called them "very qualified."

Democratic Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, of Montana, said both nominees - Ronald Buch and Albert Lauber - have considerable experience in tax law. The senior Republican, Orrin Hatch of Utah, said in a statement the nominees "seem very qualified to serve."

Buch is a partner at law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP and has represented multinational companies in tax controversy disputes. Lauber is a professor at Georgetown Law School and previously worked at law firm Caplin & Drysdale.

A committee vote on the nominees, who were named by Obama in 2011, has not been scheduled. If approved at that level, the nominees would then need to be confirmed by the full Senate. The president's four previous Tax Court nominees were confirmed by the Senate.

About 90 percent of all Internal Revenue Service tax deficiency cases - in which the government says a taxpayer owes the government money - go through the Tax Court.

(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jackie Frank)

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