General Information - Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)?
The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) enforces the regulations governing the practice of attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries and appraisers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as set forth in Treasury Department (Circular No. 230). In addition, OPR reviews applications from individuals who wish to become an enrolled agent or enrolled actuary.
OPR was established in January 2003, is this a new office?
OPR is the successor office to the former Director of Practice organization. Some differences between OPR and the former Director of Practice Office are that OPR has:
A redefined mission,
A different reporting structure-OPR reports directly to the Deputy Commissioner Service and Enforcement, and
Expanded the thrust of our enforcement efforts to include issues having greater impact on tax administration.
What is the organizational structure of OPR?
The Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility reports directly to the Commissioner but works in close coordination with the the enforcement functions. The office is made up of two functions. The Licensure and Education unit administers the Special Enrollment Examination for those who wish to become enrolled agents, processes applications for enrollment, and monitors enrolled agent continuing professional education. The two Enforcement units handle all disciplinary matters and potential denials of applications for enrollment. The Executive Director of the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries supports the work of the Joint Board in regulating practice of actuaries before the Departments of Treasury and Labor. Enrolled actuaries certify the reliability of pension plan funding projections.
What is Circular 230?
Circular 230 provides the regulations governing the practice of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, and appraisers before the IRS.
Does OPR have authority and regulation over all tax professionals?
OPR only has jurisdiction over attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents,
enrolled actuaries, and appraisers. Unenrolled preparers are regulated by the Compliance Division of IRS.
How can I contact OPR?
You may contact OPR at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send any confidential information via this email. Inquiries containing sensitive information should be faxed to our office at (202)-622-2207.
What does “practice before the Internal Revenue Service” mean?
“Practice before the IRS” includes all matters connected with a presentation to the IRS on behalf of the taxpayer. Examples include preparing and filing documents, communicating with the IRS, and representing a client at meetings.
An individual may appear on their own behalf,
An individual may represent an immediate family member,
A regular full-time employee of an employer may represent the employer,
A general partner or a regular full-time employee of a partnership may represent the partnership.
A bona fide officer or a regular full-time employee of a corporation, association, or organized group may represent the corporation, association, or organized group.
A regular full-time employee of a trust, receivership, guardianship, or estate may represent the trust, receivership, guardianship, or estate.
An officer or a regular employee of a governmental unit, agency, or authority may represent the government unit, agency, or authority in the course of his or her official duties.
An individual may represent any individual or entity, which is outside the United States, before personnel of the IRS when such representation takes place outside the United States.
An individual who prepares and signs a taxpayer’s return as the preparer (or who prepares a tax return but is not required to sign the tax return) may represent the taxpayer only with respect to the return he or she prepared and signed. Such an individual may represent the taxpayer before revenue agents and customer service representatives, but not appeals officers, revenue officers, or Counsel.
Can a government employee practice before the IRS?
An individual, who is an employee of the Federal government, generally, cannot practice before the Service. State and local government employees, generally, may not practice if their employment discloses information relating to Federal taxes.
What are the limitations on representation by an unenrolled preparer?
An unenrolled preparer’s ability to practice before the Service is very limited. Generally, it is limited to the examination function of the Service, and only with respect to a return he or she prepared. Consequently, an unenrolled preparer cannot practice before appeals officers, revenue officers, and Counsel. Also, an unenrolled preparer cannot execute claims for refund, receive refund checks, execute consents to extend the statutory period for assessment or collection, execute closing agreements, or execute waivers of restriction on assessment or collection of a deficiency in tax.