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New Director Named for IRS Office of Professional Responsibility

IR-2003-148, Dec. 29, 2003

WASHINGTON — As part of a broader effort to strengthen professional standards, IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson announced today the selection of Cono Namorato as the Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Combined with other changes unveiled today involving Circular 230 and abusive tax shelters, Namorato’s selection represents an important part of the agency’s continuing efforts to ensure high professional standards and build faith in the tax system.

“I am delighted that a professional of Cono’s status is taking on this assignment,” Everson said. “He shares my concern about the erosion of professional standards among some attorneys and accountants. This appointment should signal an expectation that tax practitioners live up to their professional obligations.”

The Office of Professional Responsibility investigates allegations of misconduct or negligence against tax practitioners and enforces the standards of practice for those who represent taxpayers before the IRS, as detailed in Circular 230. The office also licenses “enrolled agents,” who are tax professionals meeting certain testing or experience requirements.

Everson has taken several steps recently to enhance the effectiveness of this office. Over the last year, staff of the office has been doubled and its Director sits on the IRS Enforcement Committee, a panel of senior agency executives who meet regularly to develop strategies on the top compliance problems facing the IRS. The Commissioner also recently charged OPR with conducting a broader review of the IRS’ overall relationship with the practitioner community.

Namorato has been a member of the Washington law firm of Caplin & Drysdale since 1978, representing and advising clients on criminal and civil tax matters. He began his career as an IRS Special Agent in Brooklyn from 1963 to 1968, then spent 10 years in the Justice Department’s Tax Division, rising to the position of Deputy Assistant Attorney General in 1977.

While Chair of an American Bar Association subcommittee on Criminal Tax Policy, Namorato co-authored and supervised completion of two reports on the IRS Criminal Investigation Division: The Future of the Criminal Investigation Division (1998) and Redirecting Criminal Tax Enforcement To Improve Voluntary Compliance (1991).

A Brooklyn native, Namorato earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting summa cum laude from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

Related Item: IR-2003-147, Treasury Issues Rules to Increase Transparency and Halt Abusive Tax Avoidance Transactions

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