Tax Talk Today - The Task Show For The Tax Pro

Ethics & Standards for Practitioners – Circular 230 Review

This program was recorded live on Tuesday, May 9, 2017
You have one year from airing date to use this course as credit.

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Continuing Education

CPE Program Knowledge Level: Ethics
2 CPE Credit; NO prerequisites or advance preparation
CTEC Course #: 3022-CE-0115
IRS/RPO Approved Program
#7ZBUJ-E-00056-17-O (Online/Group) Live (Group-Internet Based)
#7ZBUJ-E-00056-17-S (QAS Self Study) Archive
Ethics (2 Hours)

Program Content

This online learning program, presented as a live webcast, will be also archived for QAS Self Study. The program will be available for viewing for 12 months after the live webcast. A panel of IRS and industry experts will present the content during a live, interactive discussion, where participant questions can be submitted. Questions will be answered live on the program or posted on the Resources page. Former Director of Internal Communications for the IRS, Les Witmer, moderates the program.

The program, through a lively round-table discussion and real time interaction with the audience, looks at changes that affect the rules governing practice before the IRS and the prospects for additional changes. The program will focus on the role of both the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility and the Return Preparer Office in assuring that practitioners maintain the highest ethical standards. Panelists also will focus on ethical issues most often faced by tax practitioners, the penalties that may be imposed on practitioners, and the impact of preparer penalties on the conduct of a professional's practice.

Program Learning Objectives

1) Identify the year in which the IRS amended Circular 230 to bring all return preparers within the scope of Circular 230.
2) Identify recommended frequency that return preparers check their PTIN for fraudulent use.
3) Identify which type of penalty results in an automatic referral to the IRS.
4) Identify the section of Circular 230 that requires a tax practice to have a responsible person who has carried out all the things that are required in Circular 230.
Program Outline

Program Outline


Les Witmer, APR
Communications Consultant

Les Witmer has served as the moderator for Tax Talk Today since 2001. He is a Communications Consultant in Atlanta. He retired after a distinguished career of 34 years with the Federal Government serving the last 23 years with the Internal Revenue Service. He held various positions with the IRS in Communications and Taxpayer Information and retired during the stand-up of the Wage and Investment Division as the Director of Communications. He also was periodically assigned by the U.S. Treasury Department to the Office of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to be a member of an international team that advised and conducted seminars on Taxpayer Information and Customer Service programs to tax and ministry of finance officials from Russia and other Eastern European Countries. Preceding IRS, he served on active duty with the U.S. Army including as an infantry officer in Vietnam. He had other active duty and reserve assignments culminating with being activated during Desert Storm. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He holds a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi and an M.S. in Public Administration from the American University.

IRS Panelist

Stephen A. Whitlock

Stephen A. Whitlock
Director, IRS Office of Professional Responsibility

Steve was appointed as Director, Office of Professional Responsibility in August 2015, and previously served as Deputy Director from 2002 to 2007.  This office administers the IRS regulations governing the practice of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and enrolled actuaries, as set out in Treasury Circular 230.  Under his leadership the office changed its focus to address misconduct posing a greater potential of adversely impacting tax administration, including tax opinion abuses and conflicts of interest. 

Steve served as the Director, Whistleblower Office from February 2007 through July 2015.  The Whistleblower Office was created by statute in December 2006, to make determinations regarding awards to individuals who report substantial violations of the Internal Revenue laws.  As the first Director, Steve was responsible for developing the program, setting policy and providing oversight for Service action on information provided by whistleblowers. 

In February, 1998 Steve was selected as the Director, Commissioner's Complaint Processing and Analysis Group, which designed and implemented a plan for the new organization to receive, monitor and resolve complaints and other correspondence from or about IRS employees.  Steve established the strategic direction, defined the specific goals and operating guidelines, hired and trained the staff and "sold" the concept to both internal and external stakeholders.   He implemented the Service's plan for mitigation of penalty under Section 1203 of the Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 and set up the processes and procedures for the Commissioner's Review Board.  Prior to assuming this position with the IRS, Steve was detailed to a team formed by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency to review IRS integrity and discipline programs.

Steve served as the Special Assistant for Ethics and Internal Programs, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Inspections, Assistant Inspector General for Special Programs, Office of Inspector General, Department of Defense from September 1987 through February 1998. Steve directed several programs involving the identification, investigation and correction of fraud, waste and abuse in the Department of Defense.  He directed the operations of the DoD Hotline, which served as the model for Inspector General Fraud Waste and Abuse Hotlines throughout the Executive branch.  Steve also directed, and in some cases personally conducted, investigations of allegations of senior official misconduct, procurement irregularities, and personnel abuses (including whistleblower retaliation).  He also directed inspections of program and organizational effectiveness in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Military Departments, and Defense Agencies.

Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Auburn University, a Juris Doctor degree from Catholic University, and a Masters in Business Administration degree from George Mason University.

Industry Panelists

Roger Harris, EA
President and C.O.O., Padgett Business Services®/SmallBizPros, Inc. President, Padgett Foundation

Roger Harris is a practicing enrolled agent and president of Padgett Business Services, which provides accounting and financial guidance to small businesses. Regional and national print and broadcast media, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Morning Business Report, Bloomberg Business News and Accounting Today have frequently called upon Harris to interpret and comment on tax policy and tax administration issues. Accounting Today has selected him as one of its top 100 Most Influential People multiple times.  

Harris has testified on IRS reform and budgets, tax filing season issues, tax reform and small business tax and compliance issues.  He has offered testimony to the Senate and House Small Business Committees and the House Ways and Means Committee and the IRS Oversight Board.  The Small Business Administration has also recognized Roger Harris as the Small Business Advocate of the Year for Georgia.    

IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti appointed Mr. Harris to the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC). The Council provides a public forum for raising, studying and making recommendations on tax administration issues, as well as on IRS restructuring and modernization. Harris served as IRSAC Chair for 2002 and 2003.

An Athens, Georgia resident, Harris earned his degree in accounting from the University of Georgia. He is affiliated with the National Association of Enrolled Agents, where he has Chaired its Legislative Affairs Subcommittee, and the National Society of Accountants, and has served as Chair on its Federal Taxation Committee. Mr. Harris has two children and two grandchildren.

Kevin C. Huston, EA, USTCP, MBA, ChFC, CLU

President, Blue Ridge Tax Advisors, Inc

Kevin C. Huston is a nationally known tax instructor and President of the Asheville, North Carolina tax preparation and tax problem resolution firm Blue Ridge Tax Advisors, Inc.  Huston earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in International Business from Georgia State University in Atlanta.  Huston has also earned the financial planning designations Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) from The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Huston is an enrolled agent (EA); a Graduate Fellow of the National Tax Practice Institute (NTPI) of the National Association of Enrolled Agents; and a United States Tax Court Practitioner (USTCP).  A USTCP is a non-attorney admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court.  Since the inception of the U.S. Tax Court, fewer than 320 tax professionals have earned this prestigious designation.

Content Consultant

David F. Windish, J.D., LL.M
Content Consultant

David F. Windish, J.D., LL.M. in taxation, is a tax attorney and consultant. He has served as an instructor of tax-advantaged investments at the New York Institute of Finance; an Instructor of business law at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.; and an adjunct professor at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. He has also served as executive editor for Tax Analysts; managing editor for Business Strategies, published by CCH; and senior editor for the
Institute for Business Planning.

Mr. Windish is the author of Practical Guide to Real Estate Taxation, published by CCH and currently going into its sixth edition. Earlier works include Tax Advantaged Investments and Investor's Guide to Limited Partnerships, both published by the New York Institute of Finance. Through the Center for Video Education, he authored continuing education courses dealing with real estate and closely held corporations. Those courses included readings, case studies, and videotape segments.

Mr. Windish is a graduate of Rutgers University Law School and the New York University School of Law, Graduate Division. He has been heard as a guest speaker at professional meetings and seminars and on popular radio programs.