4303 Portsmouth Blvd.
Portsmouth, VA 23701
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Tax Preparer Penalties

Many times folks ask us why we ask so many questions or require so much documentation.  Of course, the biggest reason is that we want to be sure to prepare a totally accurate tax return.  But we’re also wanting to make sure we don’t incur any of the many penalties that we could get hit with if we accidentally omit something.  Take a look at what potential penalties we could face.

IRC § 6694 – Understatement of taxpayer’s liability by tax return preparer.

IRC § 6694(a) – Understatement due to unreasonable positions.  The penalty is the greater of $1,000 or 50% of the income derived by the tax return preparer with respect to the return or claim for refund.

IRC § 6694(b) – Understatement due to willful or reckless conduct.  The penalty is the greater of $5,000 or 50% of the income derived by the tax return preparer with respect to the return or claim for refund.

IRC § 6695 – Other assessable penalties with respect to the preparation of tax returns for other persons.

IRC § 6695(a) – Failure to furnish copy to taxpayer.  The penalty is $50 for each failure to comply with IRC § 6107 regarding furnishing a copy of a return or claim to a taxpayer. The maximum penalty imposed on any tax return preparer shall not exceed $25,500 in a calendar year.

IRC § 6695(b) – Failure to sign return.  The penalty is $50 for each failure to sign a return or claim for refund as required by regulations.  The maximum penalty imposed on any tax return preparer shall not exceed $25,500 in a calendar year.

IRC § 6695(c) – Failure to furnish identifying number.  The penalty is $50 for each failure to comply with IRC § 6109(a)(4) regarding furnishing an identifying number on a return or claim.  The maximum penalty imposed on any tax return preparer shall not exceed $25,500 in a calendar year.

IRC § 6695(d) – Failure to retain copy or list.  The penalty is $50 for each failure to comply with IRC § 6107(b) regarding retaining a copy or list of a return or claim.  The maximum penalty imposed on any tax return preparer shall not exceed $25,500 in a return period.

IRC § 6695(e) – Failure to file correct information returns.  The penalty is $50 for each failure to comply with IRC § 6060.  The maximum penalty imposed on any tax return preparer shall not exceed $25,500 in a return period.

IRC § 6695(f) – Negotiation of check.  The penalty is $510 for a tax return preparer who endorses or negotiates any check made in respect of taxes imposed by Title 26 which is issued to a taxpayer.

IRC § 6695(g) – Failure to be diligent in determining eligibility for earned income credit.  The penalty is $510 for each failure to comply with the EIC due diligence requirements imposed in regulations.

IRC § 6700 – Promoting abusive tax shelters

The penalty is for a promoter of an abusive tax shelter and is generally equal to $1,000 for each organization or sale of an abusive plan or arrangement  (or, if lesser, 100 percent of the income derived from the activity).

IRC § 6701 – Penalties for aiding and abetting understatement of tax liability.

The penalty is $1000 ($10,000 if the conduct relates to a corporation’s tax return) for aiding and abetting in an understatement of a tax liability.  Any person subject to the penalty shall be penalized only once for documents relating to the same taxpayer for a single tax period or event.

IRC § 6713 – Disclosure or use of information by preparers of returns.

The penalty is $250 for each unauthorized disclosure or use of information furnished for, or in connection with, the preparation of a return.  The maximum penalty on any person shall not exceed $10,000 in a calendar year.

IRC § 7206 – Fraud and false statements.

Guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, a fine of not more than $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation), imprisonment of not more than three years, or both (together with the costs of prosecution).

IRC § 7207 – Fraudulent returns, statements, or other documents.

Guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, a fine of not more than $10,000 ($50,000 in the case of a corporation), imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.

IRC § 7216 – Disclosure or use of information by preparers of returns.

Guilty of a misdemeanor for knowingly or recklessly disclosing information furnished in connection with a tax return or using such information for any purpose other than preparing or assisting in the preparation of such return.  Upon conviction, a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both (together with the costs of prosecution).

IRC § 7407 – Action to enjoin tax return preparers.

A federal district court may enjoin a tax return preparer from engaging in certain proscribed conduct, or in extreme cases, from continuing to act as a tax return preparer altogether.  (My added comment – “In other words, we lose our livelihood since we lose our ability to prepare tax returns altogether.”)

IRC § 7408 – Action to enjoin specified conduct related to tax shelters and reportable transactions

A federal district court may enjoin a person from engaging in certain proscribed conduct (including any action, or failure to take action, which is in violation of Circular 230).  (My added comment – “In other words, we lose our livelihood since we lose our ability to prepare tax returns altogether.”)

Note:  Please see the Internal Revenue Code, corresponding Treasury Regulations, and other related published guidance for additional information on each penalty section.

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Heritage Income Tax Service, Inc. | 4303 Portsmouth Blvd., Portsmouth, VA 23701
(757) 488-7232 | Fax (877) 488-7232

Heritage Income Tax offers a full range of tax preparation services. Located in Portsmouth, Virginia, we serve the entire Hampton Roads area including the cities of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk, Newport News and Hampton.