Tax Return Errors Responsibility - In the past, the IRS' Office of the Director of Practice lacked the resources to effectively pursue potential ethical violations by some tax professionals.
But the landscape has changed with the creation of the Office of Professional Responsibility, which has significant additional staffing and funding to more aggressively pursue problem practitioners.
As the oversight of licensed tax practitioners increases, we need to know what is expected of us to comply with the law and retain our ability to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
Our focus was Circular 230, a U.S. Treasury Department regulation administered by the Office of Professional Responsibility. Although various versions of the Circular have been in effect for a while, the Circular was significantly revised and strengthened in July 2002.
Circular 230 governs practice before the IRS by CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents and enrolled actuaries. The Office of Professional Responsibility may only discipline individual practitioners, not their firms. Sanctions for violating the Circular include a private reprimand, censure, suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS.
Panelists said the Circular highlights the need for practitioners to exercise due diligence in their practice before the IRS. This includes carefully preparing tax returns and other documents which may involve reasonable reliance on the work of others--such as schedule K-1s prepared by others--relating to IRS matters.
Tax Return Errors Responsibility