Circular 230 are the consolidated rules that govern the standards of practice for tax professionals before the IRS, a violation of which can result in censorship, suspension, or disbarment. The IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility (“OPR”) is tasked with interpreting and applying Circular 230, and is the agency responsible for Circular 230 discipline matters. Some of the more common provisions of Circular 230 that get tax practitioners in trouble include:
A practitioner may not, with respect to any Internal Revenue Service matter, in any way use or participate in the use of any form of public communication or private solicitation containing a false, fraudulent, or coercive statement or claim; or a misleading or deceptive statement or claim. Enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, or registered tax return preparers, in describing their professional designation, may not utilize the term “certified” or imply an employer/employee relationship with the Internal Revenue Service. Examples of acceptable descriptions for enrolled agents are “enrolled to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service,” “enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service,” and “admitted to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.” Similarly, examples of acceptable descriptions for enrolled retirement plan agents are “enrolled to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service as a retirement plan agent” and “enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service as a retirement plan agent.” An example of an acceptable description for registered tax return preparers is “designated as a registered tax return preparer by the Internal Revenue Service.”
Giving false or misleading information, or participating in any way in the giving of false or misleading information to the Department of the Treasury or any officer or employee thereof, or to any tribunal authorized to pass upon Federal tax matters, in connection with any matter pending or likely to be pending before them, knowing the information to be false or misleading. Facts or other matters contained in testimony, Federal tax returns, financial statements, applications for enrollment, affidavits, declarations, and any other document or statement, written or oral, are included in the term “information.”
Willfully failing to make a Federal tax return in violation of the Federal tax laws, or willfully evading, attempting to evade, or participating in any way in evading or attempting to evade any assessment or payment of any Federal tax.
Disbarment or suspension from practice as an attorney, certified public accountant, public accountant, or actuary by any duly constituted authority of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, including a Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia, any Federal court of record or any Federal agency, body or board.
Contemptuous conduct in connection with practice before the Internal Revenue Service, including the use of abusive language, making false accusations or statements, knowing them to be false, or circulating or publishing malicious or libelous matter.
If you are under investigation by the IRS OPR, McLaughlin Legal can help.