NOTE: This program is no longer
available for CPE credit. (5/11/17)


Tax Talk Today - Professional Responsibility and the IRS – A Matter of Ethics

Professional Responsibility and the IRS – A Matter of Ethics

This program was recorded live on Tuesday, May 10, 2016
You have until 12/31/17 to use this course as credit.

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Continuing Education

CPE Program Knowledge Level: Overview
2 CPE Credit; NO prerequisites or advance preparation
CTEC Course #: 3022-CE-0108
IRS/RPO Approved Program
#7ZBUJ-E-00048-16-O (Online/Group) Live (Group-Internet Based)
#7ZBUJ-E-00048-16-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 also focus on the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility and the Return Preparer Office, the relationship between practitioners and those offices,  and provide the most current updates. Panelists will focus on ethical problems most often faced by tax practitioners and the best practices for professionals to avoid disciplinary action.

The course of learning for this program has been designed to enhance professional knowledge of Federal taxation or Federal tax related matters.

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the disciplinary action that immediately follows a censure.
  2. Identify the number of active PTIN holders for this year.
  3. Identify the topic for Part 2 of the Enrolled Agent Exam.
  4. Identify the number of hours of ethics training needed to complete the The Annual Filing Season Program.

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 Panelists

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.

Carol A. Campbell
Director IRS Return Preparer Office

Carol A. Campbell was named director of the IRS Return Preparer Office in August 2012. As director, she is responsible for the IRS's oversight program of the tax professional industry. Her office handles the preparer tax identification number (PTIN) program and registration of over 700,000 tax return preparers and other tax professionals with the IRS, as well as oversight of the Annual Filing Season Program and all enrollment programs (enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, and enrolled actuary).

Carol is a graduate of the University of Virginia and subsequently earned a law degree from the College of William and Mary.

After law school, Carol worked for the U.S. Department of Labor, and then joined the IRS in 1991. Before becoming RPO Director, Carol was a senior docket attorney in Chief Counsel, Counsel to the National Taxpayer Advocate, Division Counsel for Wage and Investment, and Deputy Chief of Staff for the IRS Commissioner.

Industry Panelists

Terry Durkin, EA, MBA
Durkin Associates Tax Services

Terry Durkin, EA, MBA is the principal of Durkin Associates based in Burlington, Massachusetts. She specializes in individual, small business, estate, and trust tax return preparation and representation. Ms. Durkin recently completed her term as president of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) and is also past president of the Massachusetts Society of Enrolled Agents (MaSEA). She received the NAEA Founders Award in 2012 for her contribution and service to NAEA. Terry is also a Fellow of the National Tax Practice Institute (NTPI). In July of 2014, she testified before the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access at the hearing titled, Cash Accounting: A Simpler Method for Small Firms?

Prior to becoming an enrolled agent in 2005, Ms. Durkin worked for twenty years in the software industry for a variety of companies including IBM. She received her BS degree in applied mathematics with computer science from Yale University and her MBA degree with a concentration in finance from New York University. In her spare time, Terry enjoys running and golfing.

Alan Pinck, EA
Pinck & Associates

Alan Pinck is an Enrolled Agent with over 25 years of tax preparation experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has built a practice specializing in individual, small business tax preparation and audit representation. He is currently chair of the NAEA Education Committee, Chair for the NAEA Education Foundation and a speaker at the NTPI events, CSEA Super Seminar as well as a variety of other presentations for tax groups and small business associations. Having represented thousands of tax returns in audit, Alan has obtained tremendous insight of the audit process as well as knowledge on a wide variety of tax issues.

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.