Ethics for Tax Return Preparers: Meeting Standards for Conduct Under Circular 230, the NATP and the AICPA

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, December 16, 2015

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Course Materials

This course will provide federal tax return preparers with a thorough and comprehensive overview of the ethical requirements of Circular 230 and other relevant standards of conduct. The panel will discuss the sometimes conflicting duties preparers owe to both the taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service, detail the standards of competency under Circular 230 Section 10.35, and offer guidance on protection of confidential client information. The event will feature practical scenarios involving client and IRS relations and offer guidance on how to navigate sometimes sticky ethical questions.


Tax return preparers have significant obligations and duties to both their taxpayer-clients and the Internal Revenue Service. Because preparers have access to confidential information, and because what they do with that information can impact the bottom-line tax liability of their clients, tax preparers often face a number of ethical dilemmas, such as how to respond when a client urges them to report incorrect information on a tax return.

Tax return preparers are subject to ethical standards of IRS Circular 230. You may also have to follow the National Ass’n of Tax Professionals’ standards of professional conduct (if a member) and the AICPA’s Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 1 - tax return positions (if a CPA).

Return preparers face important duties to provide clients accurate advice, protect the privacy and confidentiality of sensitive information, maintain their own professional reputations, and be prepared to explain return decisions to the IRS. They must make decisions with applicable ethical standards in mind.

Listen as our speakers explain how Circular 230, and NATP and AICPA standards, may govern ethical behavior by preparers working on federal income tax returns.



  1. Ethical standards governing preparers of federal returns
    1. Circular 230
    2. National Association of Tax Professionals Standards of Professional Conduct
    3. AICPA Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 1
  2. Frequent areas of ethical concern for return preparers
    1. Hypothetical situations and possible solutions


The panel will drill into these and other relevant topics:

  • Material terms of Circular 230, NATP standards of professional conduct, and AICPA SSTS No. 1.
  • The expanded range of tax practitioners subject to taxpayer reporting ethics under Circular 230—and how the circular covers more advice and opinions by tax professionals.
  • Ethical challenges that confront preparers of federal returns—using hypotheticals and offering practical solutions


Joe Marchbein, CPA
Joe Marchbein, CPA
Tax Department Manager
Rice Sullivan

Mr. Marchbein's experience covers tax planning, research and review, as well as IRS exams and procedures. He...  |  Read More

Gerard Schreiber
Gerard Schreiber
Schreiber & Schreiber CPAs

Mr. Schreiber focuses his tax and accounting work on smaller business and individual clients. He is a frequent...  |  Read More

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