The Ethics Triangle – The Balancing Act Among Practitioners, Clients, and the IRS

This program was recorded live on Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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Continuing Education

CPE Program Knowledge Level: Ethics
2 CPE Credit; NO prerequisites or advance preparation
CTEC Course #: 3022-CE-0163
IRS/RPO Approved Program
#7ZBUJ-E-00114-23-O (Online/Group) Live (Group-Internet Based)
#7ZBUJ-E-00114-23-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

The program, through a lively round-table discussion and real time interaction with the audience, examines the changes that affect the rules governing practice before the IRS and the prospects for additional changes. The program will focus on how the IRS assures that practitioners maintain the highest ethical standards. Panelists also will focus on ethical problems most often faced by tax practitioners, the dilemma when client's wishes clash with a professional's responsibilities, and the penalties that may be imposed on practitioners.

By the end of the program, participants will have a practical understanding, through accurate, current, and effectively designed communications, of the ethical obligations of practitioners, the enforcement of those ethical obligations, the penalties imposed on practitioners who fall short, and the resolution of conflicts that arise between client and the professional's responsibilities.

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Identify what is not typically covered in an engagement letter.
  2. Identify a private form of communication from the IRS to a return preparer.
  3. Identify which section of the IRC that generally prohibits the release of tax information by an IRS employee.
  4. Identify the IRS publication number that explains how to write an information security plan for data safety.

Program Outline

  • Circular 230
    • Tax Return Preparers
    • Enrolled Agents
    • Other Tax Professionals
    • Recent Developments
    • Proposed Changes

  • Reconciling Professional's Responsibilities and Client's Wishes
    • Due Diligence
    • Competence
    • Protection for Client's Records
    • Multi-Party Representation
    • Solicitation of Business
    • Other Duties

  • Office of Professional Responsibility
    • OPR's Function
    • Tax Professional's Rights in OPR Actions
    • Representation Before OPR
    • Penalties OPR may impose

  • Best Practices to Avoid Penalties
    • Failure to Follow Procedures
    • Disclosure or Use of Return Information
    • Lack of Diligence
    • Aiding or Abetting Tax Liability Understatements



Alan Pinck, EA
A. Pinck & Associates

Alan Pinck is an Enrolled Agent with over 30 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. You have seen Alan presenting at NTPI events, CSEA Super Seminar, Spidell Publishing 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.

IRS Panelist

Timothy McCormally

Timothy McCormally
Special Counsel, Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), Internal Revenue Service

Timothy McCormally joined the IRS's Office of Professional Responsibility as a Special Counsel in February 2021, and from September 2022 to April 2023, he served as OPR's Acting Director. Previously he served 7 years as a director in KPMG's Washington National Tax Practice, 30 years with Tax Executives Institute (both as general counsel and executive director), and 6 years as a tax associate with the predecessor of Eversheds Sutherland. Timothy received his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He is a frequent speaker and author on topics of tax ethics and professionalism, has published a book of poetry, and served four years on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Counsel, including one year as Chair of the overall group.

Industry Panelists

Phyllis Jo Kubey

Phyllis Jo Kubey, EA CFP, NTPI Fellow

Phyllis Jo Kubey has prepared tax returns and offered tax planning, representation, and consultation services since 1986. A strong advocate for IRS/practitioner dialogue, Phyllis served on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) from 2017-2020 (subgroup chair 2018-2020). In 2018, she testified at a U.S. Senate hearing on IRS reform. Phyllis also serves as the immediate past president of the New York State Society of Enrolled Agents (NYSSEA) and as Vice President of Voices of Ascension. A woman of diverse interests, Ms. Kubey holds a Master of Music (voice) from Juilliard and is a Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique.

Matt Metras

Matt Metras, EA

Matt Metras is the owner of MDM Financial Services in Irondequoit, NY. He has been practicing since 2003 and specializes in bookkeeping and taxation for cryptocurrency clients. He is a frequent guest on the Bitcoin Taxes podcast. He has instructed on Cryptocurrency Taxation for the National Association of Enrolled Agents, the National Association of Tax Professionals, The American Institute of Certified Tax Planners, and many other organizations. Additionally, he is a contributing writer for Matt is also a passionate community advocate and serves as the President of his local Board of Education.

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.

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