Internal Revenue Bulletin:  2009-32 

August 10, 2009 

Notice 2009-60

Standards of Conduct for the Tax Return Preparer Community and Increased Taxpayer Compliance


PURPOSE

This notice invites public comments regarding the Internal Revenue Service’s review of issues concerning tax return preparers. In June 2009, the Service announced plans to propose a comprehensive set of recommendations by the end of 2009 regarding how the tax return preparer community can help increase taxpayer compliance and how to ensure that tax return preparers meet both uniform and high ethical standards of conduct. See IR-2009-57 (June 4, 2009). The Service is seeking the input of tax preparers, the associated industry, consumer groups, and taxpayers before any recommendations are made.

To assist in developing its proposals and to ensure that input is received from a broad range of stakeholders, the Service has scheduled a number of meetings in Washington, D.C., and around the country with constituent groups. See IR-2009-66 (July 14, 2009). In this notice, the Service is requesting written comments from all affected persons and entities. The information collected will assist the Service in drafting recommendations.

REQUESTS FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

The Service requests comments on 1) how the tax return preparer community can assist in increasing taxpayer compliance and 2) how to ensure that tax return preparers meet both uniform and high ethical standards of conduct. The Service is particularly interested in any comments regarding:

  • What types of individuals, entities, and professionals currently work as tax return preparers? How are their tax return preparation services currently monitored or regulated by professional organizations or the government? How could this monitoring and regulation be improved?

  • How do difference in regulation and oversight affect how the various groups of tax return preparers interact with the Service and taxpayers?

  • Is there a minimum level of education and training necessary to provide tax return preparation services? If so, who should be responsible for ensuring that a tax return preparer meets this minimum level and how should that be done?

  • What, if any, service and outreach should be provided to tax return preparers and taxpayers? Who should provide (and bear the costs for) these needed services?

  • Should tax return preparers be subject to a code of ethics, and, if so, what specific behavior should that code promote or prohibit? How would that code of ethics interact with existing ethical standards that may already be applicable?

  • What, if any, responsibility should the firms or businesses that employ tax return preparers have for the conduct of the individuals they employ?

  • What, if any, responsibility should tax return preparer professional organizations have for the education, training, and conduct of their members?

  • If tax return preparation services should be regulated, what, if any, special regulatory provisions should be made for individuals who are already tax return preparers, licensed attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, or software providers?

  • What, if any, additional legislative, regulatory, or administrative rules should the Service consider recommending as part of its proposals with respect to the tax return preparer community?

Written comments should be sent to: CCPA:LPD:PR (Notice 2009-60), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044. Alternatively, comments may be hand delivered between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday to CC:PA:LPD:PR (Notice 2009-60), Courier’s Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. Comments may also be transmitted electronically via the following e-mail address: Notice.Comments@irscounsel.treas.gov. Please include “Notice 2009-60” in the subject line of any electronic communications.

All comments will be available for public inspection and copying. Because the Service intends to make recommendations by December 31, 2009, comments, if any, must be received by August 31, 2009.

DRAFTING INFORMATION

The principal author of this notice is Richard S. Goldstein of the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure & Administration). For further information regarding this notice, contact Richard S. Goldstein at (202) 622-3400 (not a toll-free call).


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