Tax Return Preparer Penalties
51 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 5, 2009
The federal government does not directly regulate preparers of federal tax returns, but a tax return preparer is potentially subject to several penalties under the Internal Revenue Code if he or she fails to sign and retain records of returns prepared, is responsible for an unreasonable position on a return, or engages in willful or reckless conduct in preparing a return. The government may also petition a court for an injunction against improper acts by a preparer or an injunction forbidding a person from engaging in any tax return preparation activities. The Treasury, in response to changes in the statutes, recently restated its regulations under the preparer penalty provisions. The statutory and regulation changes have attracted much attention, particularly among tax professionals not engaged in return preparation in the conventional sense, because they impose higher standards on return preparers and make it clear that any tax advice leading to a position on a return causes an adviser to be a tax return preparer, even if the person never sees the actual return. This article, an excerpt from an upcoming revision of the treatise, Federal Taxation of Income, Estates & Gifts, discusses the preparer penalties under the current regulations.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation