IRS Practice Series: Conflicts of Interest

Author: Eva Rosenberg

CPE Credit:  2 hours for CPAs
2 hours Ethics for EAs and OTRPs
2 hours Ethics for CTEC

This course will teach you how to navigate these choppy waters and how to (or how not to) represent clients that may have opposing agendas.

  • Can you recognize when your married clients have a tax conflict of interest — and when it would be more sensible for them to file separate tax returns?

  • Do you represent client(s) who are thinking about getting married? Have you discussed potential tax conflicts they might have if they were to get married?

  • Do you represent clients that were married, have joint tax liabilities and are separated, divorced OR THINKING about splitting up? Then this course is invaluable.

  • Do you represent shareholders or "members" of corporations or LLCs that the IRS has assessed or is trying to assess the Trust Fund Recover Penalty (payroll 941 taxes)?

With the divorce rate at an all-time high (over 50% of all marriages result in divorce or separation), and tax defaults happening left and right, it's important to protect your clients from each other — even when they have solid relationships. Learn how to represent couples and multiple "owners" and avoid being sued.

Publication Date: August 2016

Designed For
Tax practitioners at all levels regardless of tax practice, who work with couples and business with more than one owner. Additionally, CPAs and EAs wishing to protect themselves and their clients from misunderstandings.

Topics Covered

  • Conflict of Interest rules in Circular 230
  • Potential conflicts before marriage
  • Conflicts found in solid marriages
  • Conflicts found in troubled marriages
  • Conflicts between business partners
  • Conflicts between tax professionals and clients
  • How to stay on the engagement and protect yourself.
  • When to remove yourself from the engagement
  • Client forms to protect you — and/or your clients
  • Other Resources

Learning Objectives

  • Identify current or potential conflicts of interest, to identify the nature and extent of the conflict and to either extricate yourself from the situation, or learn to protect yourself and all parties involved
  • Differentiate what Circular 230 says about conflicts of interest
  • Recognize why the practitioner may represent a client under various conditions notwithstanding the existence of conflict of interest
  • Identify how many days within discovering the conflict of interest must the waiver be signed
  • Evaluate potential conflict of interest that must concern a tax professional
  • Describe jointly and severally liable
  • Identify conflicts of interest between clients and representing them before the Internal Revenue Service
  • Describe where the client-related Conflict of Interest is defined
  • Differentiate when a practitioner should not represent a client before the IRS if the representation involves a conflict of interest
  • Identify the existence of conflict of interest where the practitioner may represent a client under certain conditions
  • Identify potential conflicts of interest when they do not require consent forms and disclosures
  • Recognize copies of the written consents that must be retained by the practitioner for at least how many months from the date of the conclusion of the representation of the affected clients
  • Identify what kind of professional the case about Karen Hawkins' is about
  • Differentiate the section of Circular 230 defines conflicts of interest
  • Describe what informed consent is
  • Evaluate client situations where the adjusted gross income, after sources of income has been taken into account


Instructional Method

NASBA Field of Study
Regulatory Ethics (2 hours)

Program Prerequisites
IRS Practice Series: Circular 230 Considerations and Requirements or equilvalent knowledge.

Advance Preparation

Registration Options

Regular Fee$49

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