Title 31 United State Code section 330 was first published as the Horse Act of 18841 which granted the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to regulate agents representing claimants before the Treasury Department. Guidance was provided to these agents by the Treasury in the form of circulars. In 1921, the circulars were combined into a single governing circular: Treasury Department Circular 230, Laws and Regulations Governing the Recognition of Attorneys and Agents and Other Persons Representing Claimants Before the Treasury Department. Thus the term “Circular 230” was born.
Today, Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, contains rules governing the recognition of attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, registered tax return preparers, and other persons representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. It is divided into several parts:
- Subpart A — Rules Governing Authority to Practice
- Subpart B — Duties and Restrictions Relating to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service
- Subpart C — Sanctions for Violation of the Regulations
- Subpart D — Rules Applicable to Disciplinary Proceedings
- Subpart E — General Provisions
The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is responsible for matters related to practitioner conduct and is responsible for discipline, including disciplinary proceedings and sanctions. The Mission of OPR is to: “Interpret and apply the standards of practice for tax professionals in a fair and equitable manner.”
Circular 230 govern federal tax practice standards, which are administered by OPR. However, a multitude of standards and ethics rules can apply to a member's tax practice including the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct, the AICPA’s Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs), the Internal Revenue Code, state licensing boards, professional associations and various other laws and regulations. This page contains guidance, information, practice aids, and other resources related to Circular 230, which govern a CPA’s practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Please visit our Tax Ethics page and SSTS page for more information and resources regarding enforceable ethics standards for AICPA members who perform tax services.
On June 12, 2014, changes to the Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service were published in the Federal Register and became effective immediately.