Protecting tax advisors? Two new Westlaw resources can help

December 8, 2010

tax question markIf you decide to represent clients in federal tax matters, then heed Spiderman’s warning: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

For example, the revised statute 26 U.S.C.A. § 6694 dramatically raised the penalties for which tax practitioners may be liable and replaced the “realistic possibility” standard for a preparer’s positions with a stricter “reasonable belief” standard. Statutory and regulatory penalties against “material advisors” for failing to disclose particular transactions have also climbed in recent years.

“Essentially, the IRS is turning tax professionals into ‘auditors,’ instead of advocates of our clients,” complains one tax advocate.

But don’t lose sleep over it – these two databases just released on Westlaw can help you steer clear of traps and anxiety.

  • Effectively Representing Your Client Before the IRS (ABA-ERCIRS)
    This database provides the full text of the popular handbook published by the American Bar Association.Intended for novices and seasoned practitioners alike, ABA-ERCIRS covers what constitutes “practice before the IRS” and the audit process.

    It also discusses methods of information gathering available to the IRS and the taxpayer, administrative appeals, claims for refund, relief from tax liens and levies, civil penalties, and interest.

    The database contains several forms and full-text rules and other primary materials, as well as links to full-text sources cited in the text. You can use the Table of Contents to quickly browse the contents and retrieve sections by clicking section names.

  • Tax Preparer Penalties and Circular 230 Enforcement (TPP-CIR230E)
    Here’s the full text of former IRS officer Arthur H. Boelter’s one-volume guide to the potential penalties, fines, and sanctions on tax preparers and practitioners, including those under Circular 230.TPP-CIR230E includes extensive analysis of the accuracy penalties of Internal Revenue Code sections 6694 and 6662, the current tax shelter disclosure requirements, and the relationship of the statutory and regulatory provisions with the Treasury Department’s Circular 230.

    A TPP-CIR230E section typically includes links to West’s ALR Digest database, the West Key Number Digest, and the full text of cited sources. The Table of Contents is available for easy browsing and document retrieval.