From Hero to Zero in 60 Seconds or Less
Feature Article

From Hero to Zero in 60 Seconds or Less

The following is a collection of anecdotes from members of the National Association of Enrolled Agents' (NAEA Ethics and Professional Conduct (EP&C) Committee. Names have been changed to preserve the confidentiality of our complainants and respondents. So...

Ethics in Publishing: Cite Your Sources
Expert Notes

Ethics in Publishing: Cite Your Sources

“… citation, the actual process of choosing which papers to cite when writing papers, has largely escaped scrutiny. Like it or not, citations are the currency of success in science.”i Discover magazine noted th... Christine Kuglin, EA

Due Diligence: How Do You Do It and How Much Is Enough?
Feature Article

Due Diligence: How Do You Do It and How Much Is Enough?

When I was director of the Office of Professional Responsibility, one of the most frequent questions I received from tax professionals around the country was: "How do I know when I have done enough due diligence?" The ultimate answer: “It depends,” sho... Karen L. Hawkins

A Primer on Significant Sections of Circular 230 for the New Practitioner
Feature Article

A Primer on Significant Sections of Circular 230 for the New Practitioner

Circular 230 imposes certain duties and restrictions upon all practitioners.i It also delineates 18 nonexclusive acts of incompetence and disreputable conduct for which a practitioner may be disciplined. If ... Karen L. Hawkins

Can You Work 15-Hour Days and Be Ethical?
Editor's Message

Can You Work 15-Hour Days and Be Ethical?

Enrolled agents, and the tax community as a whole, work too much during tax season, and it puts taxpayers at a disadvantage. I know you may not want to hear this because it is contrary to your business model of jamming eight to 15 tax returns per day into your schedule, six to ...

Tax Practice Management and Ethics
Feature Article

Tax Practice Management and Ethics

Managing a tax practice is tricky. I frequently meet clients who defend their tax choices and dicey positions because they feel it is correct. The disdain for tax agencies, particularly the IRS, becomes transparent in their conversations. To them, I am the governm... Thomas J. Williams, EA

Adapting Accounting Ethics to New Technology
Tax Tech

Adapting Accounting Ethics to New Technology

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) recently restructured and revised its Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. While the IESBA Code is not specifically geared toward management accounting and finance professionals, it d... Daniel Butcher

Common Ethical Issues in a Tax Practice
Feature Article

Common Ethical Issues in a Tax Practice

The nature of tax practice presents a number of unique ethical issues. Tax practice requires compliance with multiple ethical frameworks. This creates ambiguities and raises complex questions. Courts have even questioned whether certain regulatory... Ryan Dean

Tax Preparer Ethics in the Modern World
Feature Article

Tax Preparer Ethics in the Modern World

After the Civil War in 1884, Congress enacted a law known as the “Horse Act,” which allowed citizens to make claims against the Treasury Department for the value of horses confiscated for use by the troops. The Treasury soon discovered that people were making cl... Anita Robinson, EA

Conflict of Interest
Tax Court

Conflict of Interest

Clark J. Gebman and Rebecca Gebman v. Commissioner T.C. Memo. 2017-184) Even if we never practice in the U.S. Tax Court, as taxpayer representatives we must always be aware of our ethical duties. This is especially true when representing a husband and wife who previously filed a ... Sherrill Trovato, EA, USTCP

Ethical Due Diligence – Self Cancelling Terms
Feature Article

Ethical Due Diligence – Self Cancelling Terms

Due diligence. Two little words with oversized implications for tax professionals. In most cases, under the due diligence guidelines set forth in Circular 230, tax professionals can rely on the representations of their clients without having to verify the accuracy or veracity of those rep... Dave Du Val, EA

Cryptocurrency Tax Preparation: Ethics Nightmare
Feature Article

Cryptocurrency Tax Preparation: Ethics Nightmare

"Who makes more money: the general practitioner doctor or the specialist spine surgeon?" Consultants love to ask that question, as part of recommending that tax professionals specialize our services. And, yes, we must admit: the question is a valid one. Specialists often do enjoy str... Andy Frye, EA; Joshua Azran, CPA

OPR Radar (for how long?)
Feature Article

OPR Radar (for how long?)

You have been a licensed tax professional representing your clients before IRS for many years. On a current controversial complex case, unknown to you, the IRS agent you have been working with files a “Report of Suspected Practitioner Misconduct” with the Office of Professional Responsibilit... Ruth Ann Michnay, EA, CPA, USTCP

Feature Article

Action Required, Addressing the Complexity of Tax Practice Rules

Historically, Circular 230 has embodied the regulation of tax practice before the IRS, including the ethical standards that tax practitioners must follow. Originally, 31 USC Sec. 330, which originated in the Horse Act of 1884, granted the secretary of the Treasury the authority to regulate agents representing claimants before the Treasury Department. Treasury used circulars to provide guidance to these agents. In 1921, these circulars were co... Marshall J. Heap, EA

Feature Article

Due Diligence: It’s Not Just About EITC Anymore!

Due Diligence IT'S NOT ABOUT EITC ANYMORE By Kathy Morgan, EA, USTCP How many of you are starting to feel like we work for the IRS, “pre-auditing” clients for them? As grEAt tax professionals, the rock that we stand on has always been and will always be our integrity. However, just how much must we scrutinize our clients’ information to meet our obligations to the IRS, our clients’ well-b... Kathy Morgan, EA, USTCP

Feature Article

Is Merely Following Circular 230 Good Enough

Is Merely Following Circular 230 Good Enough? David J. Silverman, EA, In the years since the Of fice of Professional Responsibility began requiring enrolled agents to complete annually two credits of continuing education in ethics or professional conduct, not one seminar I have attended on these topics has gone beyond what is stated in Circular 230. Some tax practitioners might seek com... David J. Silverman, EA

Feature Article

Ethics Rules, Penalties, and the Tax Preparers Engagement Letter

Perhaps one of the most important, but also one of the most overlooked, parts of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return is the section near the bottom of the second page that states: “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return and accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct and accurately list all amounts and sources of income I received duri... Anthony Santullo, EA

Feature Article

Excess Depreciation Claimed, An Ethical Dilemma

I MET JUSTIN FUNDALINSKI of Jim Saulnier & Associates while volunteering time for the betterment of the Financial Planning Association. He asked a question that gave me pause. Tax questions that cause me to pause are the spice of life. His question was about a fascinating situation he encountered regarding depreciation and disposition of residential rental real estate. So down the rabbit hole I went, thoroughly reviewing t... John R. Dundon II, EA

Feature Article

A Preparer Penalty Can Ruin Your Day

This issue of the EA Journal is all about ethics. Preparer penalties are often about a lack of ethics or a lack of due diligence. Here is one of the most comprehensive definitions of due diligence I have ever heard, given by my friend, fellow NAEA member, and NTPI Fellow, Conrad Mangapit, EA: Definition of Due Diligence – Part I A duty that paid tax professionals must perform to the best of their abilities in order... Kathy Morgan, EA

Feature Article

Walking the Tight Rope

NINE STEPS TO MAKE YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS FROM RUNNING AFOUL OF CIRCULAR 230 Marketing your business is a critical skill to develop for bringing in customers and preventing violations of the tricky regulations surrounding how we represent ourselves before the public. Frequently, there are posts on social media groups about how best to market our businesses, yet few responses ever mention the legalities. Most areas of Circular 230 ha... Crystal Stranger, EA