Powell served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army between 1962 and 1964. From 1967 to 1970, he was employed in various positions by the Internal Revenue Service. In 1970 he became a Trial Attorney in the Appellate Section of the United States Department of Justice Tax Division; in 1977, he was promoted to a Senior Trial Attorney. Between 1980 and 1985, Powell was a Reviewer. He was appointed as a Special Trial Judge of the U.S. Tax Court on August 25, 1985.
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