Tax Return Preparer Sanctions: A Harsh New World

Facing Tougher IRS Penalties and Circular 230 Standards

Effective With Returns Filed in 2008

Recording of a 100-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Program Materials


The government's new regimen of tax return preparer penalties—spelled out in temp regs issued by the IRS in January—is a tough one. Accountants have long faced possible penalties if they sign income tax returns with too-aggressive positions, but now they also face new conduct standards.

And, starting with returns due in January 2008, return preparer penalties also applied to federal estate and gift, employment and excise tax returns. Those penalties jumped as much as five-fold. Meanwhile, new Circular 230 regs now set a "more likely than not" standard for tax return positions.

New penalties address filing erroneous refund claims. Return preparers—who can include not just the signers of returns but accounting firm and client employees who work on them—must navigate significantly more treacherous waters with the IRS.

Listen as our panel of veteran accounting and tax professionals bottom-lines the new tax return preparer environment and what it means for accountant–client relationships.



The panel explains and prepares you to react to these and other key issues:

  • Who qualifies as a "return preparer" under the new rules, and what kinds of returns are covered?
  • What are the best practices for dealing with the new conduct standards for preparing returns with understated tax liabilities?
  • What should accountants consider in responding to problematic returns with clients?
  • When is resigning as preparer preferred over persuading clients to either report or stop claiming an aggressive position?


Walter Goldberg
Walter Goldberg
Executive Director, Tax Practice
Grant Thornton

He has more than 20 years of federal tax controversy experience and also advises clients on ADR, penalty and disclosure...  |  Read More

Fred Murray
Fred Murray
Director of Tax Practice Policy and Quality Group
Grant Thornton

Previously, he was assigned to tax positions at the Justice Department, IRS, National Foreign Trade Council and Tax...  |  Read More

Mark Lange
Mark Lange
Tax Partner
Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker

He focuses on transactional tax issues involving M&A, joint ventures, partnerships and other business combinations....  |  Read More

Cristiane Daly
Cristiane Daly
Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker

She is attached to the firm's Tax Practice.

 |  Read More