Internal Revenue Service officials said they were happy to bid adieu to the omnipresent yet misused IRS Circular 230 disclaimer at the bottom of practitioner e-mails, and cautioned practitioners that continued inclusion of the disclaimer will be considered a misstatement.
“I'm here to tell you to get that jurat, that disclaimer, off your e-mails. It's no longer necessary,” Karen L. Hawkins, director of IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, told practitioners at a June 20 tax conference sponsored by the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies in New York.
The IRS's chief counsel, William J. Wilkins, seconded that statement, telling practitioners in a keynote address that the “Circular 230 legend is not merely dead, it's really most sincerely dead. So please omit.”
Final regulations (T.D. 9668, RIN 1545-BF96) on Circular 230 were issued June 9 and took effect June 12. The rules eased a number of requirements under the publication, in particular doing away with the need to follow a separate set of standards regarding “covered opinions” when providing written advice to clients.
Practitioners can still use a disclaimer that highlights that their legal opinion should be confined to the facts a client has provided, Hawkins said, “but I do not want to see jurats from any of you, after today, that say things like ‘the Internal Revenue Service requires that I tell you,' or ‘under Circular 230 I am obliged to say,' because those will be misstatements.”
The form or wording of the alternative disclaimer will be up to practitioners, said Hawkins. “I just don't want you blaming all that extra garbage at the end of your e-mails on the Internal Revenue Service or the Office of Professional Responsibility,” she said.
We are revising our disclaimer to provide:
DISCLAIMER OF TAX ADVICE: Any discussion contained herein cannot be considered to be tax advice. Actual tax advice would require a detailed and careful analysis of the facts and applicable law, which we expect would be time consuming and costly. We have not made and have not been asked to make that type of analysis in connection with any advice given in this e-mail. As a result, we are required to advise you that any Federal tax advice rendered in this e-mail is not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by the IRS. In the event you would like us to perform the type of analysis that is necessary for us to provide an opinion, that does not require the above disclaimer, as always, please feel free to contact us.
From both a client and a business stand point, we believe that it needs to be clearly stated in our e-mails that our response to an email is just that and the amount of work to render an opinion is considerably more work and therefore more costly.
What do your think?