Tax Return Preparer Ethical Issues

Study Level:  Basic
Category:  Ethics
Delivery Method: Self-study online
Provider of Record: WebCE
Tax Year: 2018
Number of CE Hours: 2
Prerequisites: None 

Course Description:

The Internal Revenue Service routinely processes more than 200 million tax returns each year, many of them prepared by tax professionals. Not surprisingly, as tax law becomes increasingly complex, taxpayers often seek the knowledgeable assistance of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, and other qualified tax return preparers.

To help ensure that such professionals understand their ethical responsibilities in representing their clients before the IRS and in preparing their tax returns, the IRS has published Treasury Department Circular No. 230, which offers substantial guidance in:

  • setting forth rules relating to the authority to practice before the IRS
  • identifying the duties and restrictions relating to practice before the IRS
  • prescribing sanctions for violating the regulations

This course will examine many of those rules, duties, and restrictions as well as the sanctions imposed for their violation. In that examination of applicable rules, the course will discuss the requirements imposed on tax return preparers by Circular 230 and will then present real-world scenarios focusing on specific ethical issues they may encounter in their professional activities.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • recognize the permitted scope of registered tax return preparer responsibilities
  • identify the best practices for tax advisers in preparing or assisting in the preparation of a submission to the Internal Revenue Service
  • recognize practitioner duties and restrictions with respect to:
    • information to be furnished to the IRS
    • the practice of law
    • dealing with taxpayer omissions, errors and noncompliance with U.S. revenue laws
    • the requirement for preparer diligence as to accuracy
    • return of client records
    • the existence of conflicts of interest
    • solicitation of business
  • identify the various sanctions that may be imposed for a preparer's failure to comply with applicable conduct rules

Last reviewed Jan 2018

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