The professional conduct of paid US tax return preparers is heavily regulated under the Internal Revenue Code.

It is timely to note that return preparers cannot, under any circumstances, negotiate or cash a taxpayer’s tax refund check.

Even authorization to receive a taxpayer’s refund check must be obtained from the taxpayer, on Power of Attorney Form 2848, and furnished to the Internal Revenue Service.

Paid preparers face a penalty of US$500 per check for committing this offence.

They also face penalties for unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer information to third parties of US$250 per disclosure, up to US$10,000 per year.

These are but two of the statutory obligations that exist for all paid preparers of U.S. tax returns which are regulated by the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Professional Responsibility.