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previous page Previous Page: Publication 946 - How to Depreciate Property - How To Get Tax Help
next page Next Page: Publication 947 - Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney - Authorizing a Representative
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000145598
Publication 947

Practice Before 
the IRS and 
Power of Attorney


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What's New(p1)


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taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148586

Enrolled retirement plan agents.(p1)

Enrolled retirement plan agents are now authorized to practice before the IRS under section 10.3(e) of Circular 230. See Enrolled retirement plan agents under Who Can Practice Before the IRS? later.

Reminders(p1)


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taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148588

Practitioners' hotline.(p1)

The Practitioner Priority Service® is a nationwide, toll-free hotline that provides professional support to practitioners with account-related questions. This service is available weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time. The toll-free number for this service is 1-866-860-4259.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148589

Non-IRS powers of attorney.(p2)

A general, durable, or limited power of attorney will be accepted by the IRS if it satisfies the same requirements stated in Form 2848. If the non-IRS power of attorney does not contain all the required information, the attorney-in-fact (the representative) appointed by the non-IRS power of attorney may be able to add the missing information by attaching a Form 2848. See Non-IRS powers of attorney under When Is a Power of Attorney Required, later.

taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#TXMP1105eed9Introduction

This publication discusses who can represent a taxpayer before the IRS and what forms or documents are used to authorize a person to represent a taxpayer. Usually, attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents, and enrolled actuaries can represent taxpayers before the IRS. Under special circumstances, other individuals, including unenrolled return preparers, can represent taxpayers before the IRS. For details regarding taxpayer representation, see Who Can Practice Before the IRS, later. This publication also contains a Glossary that defines certain professional titles as well as various terms.
Also covered is the use of Form 8821,Tax Information Authorization, to authorize an individual or certain entities to receive and inspect a taxpayer's confidential tax information. See Disclosure of tax return information under When Is a Power of Attorney Not Required, later.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148590

Definitions.(p2)


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Many of the terms used in this publication, such as enrolled agent and practitioner are defined in the Glossary at the back of this publication.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148591

Comments and suggestions.(p2)


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We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can email us at *taxforms@irs.gov. Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Business Forms and Publications Branch 
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:B 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224


We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#TXMP7211449a

Useful items

You may want to see:


Publication
 1 Your Rights as a Taxpayer
 470 Limited Practice Without Enrollment
 Circular No. 230 Regulations Governing the Practice of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers before the Internal Revenue Service
Form (and Instructions)
 2848: Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative
 8821: Tax Information Authorization
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148592

Ordering publications and forms.(p2)


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See How To Get Tax Help, near the end of this publication, for information about getting publications and forms.
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Practice Before the IRS(p2)


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Words you may need to know (see Glossary)

The Office of Professional Responsibility is responsible for administering and enforcing the regulations governing practice before the IRS. These regulations are published as Treasury Department Circular No. 230. The Office's responsibility includes making determinations on applications for enrollment to practice before the IRS and conducting disciplinary proceedings relating to those eligible to practice.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148594

What Is Practice Before the IRS?(p2)


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Practice before the IRS covers all matters relating to any of the following. Just preparing a tax return, furnishing information at the request of the IRS, or appearing as a witness for the taxpayer is not practice before the IRS. These acts can be performed by anyone.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148595

Who Can Practice Before the IRS?(p2)


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Any of the following individuals can practice before the IRS. However, any individual who is recognized to practice (a recognized representative) must be designated as the taxpayer's power of attorney and file a written declaration with the IRS stating that he or she is authorized and qualified to represent a particular taxpayer. Form 2848 can be used for this purpose.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148596

Attorneys.(p3)


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Any attorney who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS and who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any state, possession, territory, commonwealth, or of the District of Columbia may practice before the IRS.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148597

Certified public accountants (CPAs).(p3)


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Any CPA who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS and who is duly qualified to practice as a CPA in any state, possession, territory, commonwealth, or in the District of Columbia may practice before the IRS.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148598

Enrolled agents.(p3)


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Any enrolled agent in active status may practice before the IRS.
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Enrolled retirement plan agents.(p3)


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Any enrolled retirement plan agent in active status may practice before the IRS. The practice of enrolled retirement plan agent is limited to certain Internal Revenue Code sections that relate to their area of expertise, principally those sections governing employee retirement plans.
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Enrolled actuaries.(p3)


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Any individual who is enrolled as an actuary by the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries may practice before the IRS. The practice of enrolled actuaries is limited to certain Internal Revenue Code sections that relate to their area of expertise, principally those sections governing employee retirement plans.
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Student attorney.(p3)


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A student who receives permission to practice before the IRS by virtue of their status as a law student under section 10.7(d) of Circular 230. See Students in LITCs and STCP under Authorization for Special Appearances on page 4.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148602

Student CPA.(p3)


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A student who receives permission to practice before the IRS by virtue of their status as a CPA student under section 10.7(d) of Circular 230. See Students in LITCs and STCP under Authorization for Special Appearances on page 4.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148603

Unenrolled return preparers.(p3)


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An unenrolled return preparer is an individual other than an attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, or enrolled actuary who prepares and signs a taxpayer's return as the preparer, or who prepares a return but is not required (by the instructions to the return or regulations) to sign the return.
An unenrolled return preparer is permitted to appear as your representative only before customer service representatives, revenue agents, and examination officers, with respect to an examination regarding the return he or she prepared.
An unenrolled return preparer cannot:
For more information, see Publication 470.
If the unenrolled return preparer does not meet the requirements for limited representation, you must file Form 8821. The unenrolled return preparer's involvement in your case will be limited to receiving or inspecting your taxpayer information. See Form 8821.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148604

Practice denied.(p3)
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Any individual engaged in limited practice before the IRS who is involved in disreputable conduct is subject to disciplinary action. Disreputable conduct includes, but is not limited to, the list of items under Disreputable Conduct shown later under What Are the Rules of Practice.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148605

Other unenrolled individuals.(p3)


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Because of their special relationship with a taxpayer, the following unenrolled individuals can represent the specified taxpayers before the IRS, provided they present satisfactory identification and, except in the case of an individual described in (1) below, proof of authority to represent the taxpayer.
  1. An individual. An individual can represent himself or herself before the IRS and does not have to file a written declaration of qualification and authority.
  2. A family member. An individual can represent members of his or her immediate family. Immediate family means a spouse, child, parent, brother, or sister of the individual.
  3. An officer. A bona fide officer of a corporation (including a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliated corporation), association, or organized group can represent the corporation, association, or organized group. An officer of a governmental unit, agency, or authority, in the course of his or her official duties, can represent the organization before the IRS.
  4. A partner. A general partner can represent the partnership before the IRS.
  5. An employee. A regular full-time employee can represent his or her employer. An employer can be, but is not limited to, an individual, partnership, corporation (including a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliated corporation), association, trust, receivership, guardianship, estate, organized group, governmental unit, agency, or authority.
  6. A fiduciary. A fiduciary (trustee, executor, administrator, receiver, or guardian) stands in the position of a taxpayer and acts as the taxpayer, not as a representative. See Fiduciary under When Is a Power of Attorney Not Required, later.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148606

Representation Outside the United States(p3)


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Representation Outside the United States

Any individual may represent an individual or entity before personnel of the IRS when such representation occurs outside the United States. See section 10.7(c)(1)(vii) of Circular 230.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148607

Authorization for Special Appearances(p4)


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Authorization for Special Appearances

The Office of Professional Responsibility can authorize an individual who is not otherwise eligible to practice before the IRS to represent another person for a particular matter. The prospective representative must request this authorization in writing from the Office of Professional Responsibility. However, it is granted only when extremely compelling circumstances exist. If granted, the Office of Professional Responsibility will issue a letter that details the conditions related to the appearance and the particular tax matter for which the authorization is granted.
The authorization letter from the Office of Professional Responsibility should not be confused with a letter from an IRS center advising an individual that he or she has been assigned a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number (an identifying number that the IRS assigns representatives). The issuance of a CAF number does not indicate that a person is either recognized or authorized to practice before the IRS. It merely confirms that a centralized file for authorizations has been established for the representative under that number.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148608

Students in LITCs and the STCP.(p4)


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You may authorize a student who works in a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) or Student Tax Clinic Program (STCP) to represent you under a special order issued by the Office of Professional Responsibility.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148609

Who Cannot Practice Before the IRS?(p4)


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In general, individuals who are not eligible or who have lost the privilege as a result of certain actions cannot practice before the IRS. If an individual loses eligibility to practice, his or her power of attorney will not be recognized by the IRS.
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Corporations, associations, partnerships, and other persons that are not individuals.(p4)


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These organizations (or persons) are not eligible to practice before the IRS.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148611

Loss of Eligibility(p4)


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Loss of Eligibility

Generally, individuals lose their eligibility to practice before the IRS in the following ways:
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Failure to meet requirements.(p4)


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Enrolled agents who fail to comply with the requirements for eligibility for renewal of enrollment will be notified by the Office of Professional Responsibility through first class mail. The notice will explain the reason for noncompliance and provide the enrolled agent with an opportunity to furnish information for reconsideration. The enrolled agent has 60 days from the date of the notice to respond.
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Inactive roster.(p4)
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An enrolled agent will be placed on the roster of inactive enrolled individuals for a period of three years, if he or she: The enrolled agent must file an application for renewal and satisfy all requirements for renewal within 3 years of being placed on the roster. After 3 years, he or she will be removed from the roster and the enrollment terminated.
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Inactive retirement status.(p4)


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Enrolled agents who request to be placed in an inactive retirement status will be ineligible to practice before the IRS. They must continue to adhere to all renewal requirements. They can be reinstated to an active enrollment status by filing an application for renewal of enrollment and providing evidence that they have completed the required continuing professional education hours.
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Suspension and disbarment.(p4)


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Individuals authorized to practice before the IRS are subject to disciplinary proceedings and may be suspended or disbarred for violating any regulation governing practice before the IRS. This includes committing acts of disreputable conduct. For more information, see Disreputable Conduct under What are the Rules of Practice, later.
Practitioners who are suspended in a disciplinary proceeding are not allowed to practice before the IRS during the period of suspension. See What Is Practice Before the IRS, earlier.
Practitioners who are disbarred in a disciplinary proceeding are not allowed to practice before the IRS. However, a practitioner can seek reinstatement from the Office of Professional Responsibility five years after disbarment.
If the practitioner seeks reinstatement, he or she may not practice before the IRS until the Office of Professional Responsibility authorizes reinstatement. The Office of Professional Responsibility may reinstate the practitioner if it is determined that:
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How Does an Individual Become Enrolled?(p4)


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The Office of Professional Responsibility can grant enrollment to practice before the IRS to an applicant who demonstrates special competence in tax matters by passing a written examination administered by the IRS. Enrollment also can be granted to an applicant who qualifies because of past service and technical experience in the IRS. In either case, certain application forms, discussed next, must be filed.
Additionally, an applicant must not have engaged in any conduct that would justify suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS. See Disreputable Conduct, later.
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Form 2587.(p5)


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Applicants can apply to take the special enrollment examination by filing Form 2587, Application for Special Enrollment Examination. Part 4 of the form should be mailed with the examination fee to the address shown on the form. The amount of the fee is also shown on Form 2587. The form is revised annually and is available in mid-June each year. The form must be postmarked no later than July 31. To obtain Form 2587, see How To Get Tax Help, later.
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Form 23.(p5)


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Individuals who have passed the examination or are applying on the basis of past service and technical experience with the IRS can apply for enrollment by filing Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, with the Office of Professional Responsibility. The application must include a check or money order in the amount of the fee shown on Form 23. To obtain Form 23, see How To Get Tax Help, later.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148619

Period of enrollment.(p5)


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An enrollment card will be issued to each individual whose application is approved. The individual is enrolled until the expiration date shown on the enrollment card. To continue practicing beyond the expiration date, the individual must request renewal of the enrollment.
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Form 8554.(p5)
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Applicants for renewal of enrollment must file Form 8554, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service. To qualify for renewal, applicants must complete the necessary hours of continuing professional education during each 3-year enrollment cycle. See Form 8554 for more information. To obtain Form 8554, see How To Get Tax Help, later.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148621

What Are the Rules of Practice?(p5)


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Rules of Practice

An attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, or enrolled actuary authorized to practice before the IRS (referred to hereafter as a practitioner) has the duty to perform certain acts and is restricted from performing other acts. In addition, a practitioner cannot engage in disreputable conduct (discussed later). Any practitioner who does not comply with the rules of practice or engages in disreputable conduct is subject to disciplinary action. Also, unenrolled preparers must comply with the rules of practice and conduct to exercise the privilege of limited practice before the IRS. See Publication 470 for a discussion of the special rules for limited practice by unenrolled preparers.
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Duties(p5)


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Practitioners must promptly submit records or information requested by officers or employees of the IRS. When the Office of Professional Responsibility requests information concerning possible violations of the regulations by other parties, the practitioner must provide the information and be prepared to testify in disbarment or suspension proceedings. A practitioner can be exempted from these rules if he or she believes in good faith and on reasonable grounds that the information requested is privileged or that the request is of doubtful legality.
taxmap/pubs/p947-000.htm#en_us_publink1000148623

Confidentiality privilege.(p5)


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The confidentiality protection for certain communications between a taxpayer and an attorney (privileged communications) applies to similar communications between a taxpayer and any federally authorized tax practitioner.
Federally authorized tax practitioners include attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, and certain other individuals allowed to practice before the IRS.
EIC
This confidentiality privilege cannot be used in any administrative proceeding with an agency other than the IRS.
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Communications that are protected.(p5)
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The protection of this privilege applies only to tax advice given to the taxpayer by any individual who is a federally authorized tax practitioner. Tax advice is advice in regard to a matter that is within the scope of the practitioner's authority to practice. The confidentiality protection applies to communications that would be considered privileged if they were between the taxpayer and an attorney and that relate to:
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Communications regarding corporate tax shelters.(p5)
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This protection of tax advice communications does not apply to any written communications between a federally authorized tax practitioner and a director, shareholder, officer, employee, agent, or representative of a corporation. It also does not apply if the communication involves the promotion of the direct or indirect participation of the corporation in any tax shelter.
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Duty to advise.(p5)


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A practitioner who knows that his or her client has not complied with the revenue laws or has made an error or omission in any return, document, affidavit, or other required paper, has the responsibility to advise the client promptly of the noncompliance, error, or omission, and the consequences of the noncompliance, error, or omission.
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Due diligence.(p5)


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A practitioner must exercise due diligence when performing the following duties:
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Restrictions(p6)


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Restrictions

Practitioners are restricted from engaging in certain practices. The following paragraphs discuss some of these restricted practices.
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Delays.(p6)


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A practitioner must not unreasonably delay the prompt disposition of any matter before the IRS.
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Assistance from disbarred or suspended persons and former IRS employees.(p6)


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A practitioner must not knowingly, directly or indirectly, do the following.
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Performance as a notary.(p6)


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A practitioner who is a notary public and is employed as counsel, attorney, or agent in a matter before the IRS, or has a material interest in the matter, cannot engage in any notary activities related to that matter.
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Negotiations of taxpayer refund checks.(p6)


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Practitioners who are income tax return preparers must not endorse or otherwise negotiate (cash) any refund check issued to the taxpayer.
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Disreputable Conduct(p6)


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Disreputable Conduct

Any practitioner or unenrolled return preparer may be disbarred or suspended from practice before the IRS, or censured, for disreputable conduct. The following list contains examples of conduct that is considered disreputable.
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Censure, Disbarments, and Suspensions(p6)


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Censure, Disbarments, and Suspensions

The Office of Professional Responsibility may censure or institute proceedings to suspend or disbar any attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent who the Office of Professional Responsibility has reason to believe violated the rules of practice. Except in certain unusual circumstances, the Director will not institute a proceeding for censure, suspension, or disbarment against a practitioner until the facts (or conduct) which may warrant such action have been given in writing to that practitioner and the practitioner has been given the opportunity to demonstrate or achieve compliance with the rules.
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 946 - How to Depreciate Property - How To Get Tax Help
next pageNext Page: Publication 947 - Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney - Authorizing a Representative
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication