American Bar Association

Section of Taxation:

Who We Are

The responsibilities of the Standards of Tax Practice Committee (#3320) include ethical standards and the requirements of Circular 230. The Committee takes an active interest in the standards of conduct imposed upon practitioners by various penalty provisions. The Committee is authorized to issue Statements of Standards of Tax Practice. Committee Comments

  • In June 2014, the Committee participated along with other Tax Section committees in drafting a submission to Congressional leadership to provide comments on legislative proposals to reform administrative aspects of federal tax law.
  • The Committee worked with Section Leadership to submit comments in September 2012 on Proposed Reg 138367-06 Relating to Practice Before the IRS. The proposed regulations included repeal of the "covered opinion" rules in former Circular 230 Section 10.35, a competence standard in new section 10.35 and other important changes. The proposed regulations were finalized in June 2014.

New OPR Listserv OPR recently created a listserve that practitioners can subscribe to in order to receive email alerts regarding OPR disciplinary actions, press releases and other information.

Important Developments

Updated OPR Guidance Regarding Professional Obligations
On August 1, 2015, the IRS's Office of Professional Responsibility issued an update to its Guidance to Practitioners Regarding Professional Obligations Under Treasury Circular 230. The updated Guidance includes new FAQs on a practitioner's obligation to return client records, on supervision of other practitioners in a firm, and on fee sharing arrangements.

Stephen Whitlock Named New OPR Director
The IRS announced on July 23, 2015 that Stephen Whitlock will take over as Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility, following Karen Hawkins' departure. Mr. Whitlock is a friend to and a familiar face for the Standards Committee, having previously served as OPR Director before taking over as head of the IRS's Whistleblower Officer.

OPR Issues Guidance Clarifying Function of IRS Form 4764, Communications Agreement, LB&I Examination Plan
On September 9, 2014, OPR issued guidance clarifying its jurisdiction over persons identified as corporate representatives on an IRS Form 4764, Communications Agreement, LB&I Examination Plan. Among other issues, the guidance clarified that a Form 4764 cannot be used to authorize an individual to advocate a taxpayer's position and that only an IRS Form 2848 may be used for that purpose.

Publication of OPR Disciplinary Decisions
Since September 2007, OPR has been publishing all final agency decisions in Circular 230 disciplinary proceedings. Those decisions can be found at the IRS's Final Agency Decisions webpage.

Committee Materials from Recent Meetings

Did you know thousands of pages of cutting-edge committee program materials are available to you as a Tax Section member? These documents contain analysis of the latest federal tax policy, initiatives, regulations, legislative forecasts, and planning ideas developed by the country's leading tax attorneys and government officials. Access these materials now.

Join Us



Desmond, Michael


Moore, Guinevere
Partain, Rachel

Committee Roster  

Programs, Meetings and Events

Section Events

    Destroying the Johnson Amendment and the Future of 501(c)(3) Politicking


    President Trump has promised to totally destroy the Johnson Amendment, which states that section 501(c)(3) organizations may not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public ...

    Ethical Issues Under a Changing Legal Environment


    With ever changing technology, the way lawyers practice law and communicate with their clients is always evolving. With this evolution comes a new era of ethical challenges. This panel will discuss some of the ethical issues that arise with the use of social media (personal and professional), electronic ...

    Breaking Bad - Dealing with the Partnership Audit Rules and Partnership Agreement Drafting Considerations


    This panel will consider techniques for drafting partnership agreements to deal with the considerations presented by the partnership audit rules, taking into account the rules' potential application for both federal and state purposes. Featured Speakers Terence F. Cuff , Loeb & Loeb LLP, Los Angeles, ...

Sub Committees  (click [+] for listing)

 Sub Committees

Recent Circular 230 Regulations and Preambles

Committee Resources

Circular 230 Resources

An index of links to federal regulations, related Tax Section comments, recent relevant meeting materials, and helpful CLE products. (currently being updated)

Circular 230 Document Database

A members-only database of sample documents regarding Circular 230 policies and procedures (currently being updated)

Modified by Michael Desmond on April 1, 2016

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