Becoming an EA with DUI conviction.


T

Tax Student

I'm wondering if anyone knows if I would be eligible to become an EA
with a DUI conviction from 1993 that resulted in a fine in excess of
$500. Question 9 on Form 23 asks if you have been convicted of a
crime that resulted in a fine of $500 or more. Obviously I have to
answer yes to this question. I can provide clear and convincing
evidence of strong moral character with many personal references but
I'm wondering if the IRS will even consider that because of my 1993
conviction. Answers strongly appreciated!
 
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A

Arthur Kamlet

I'm wondering if anyone knows if I would be eligible to become an EA
with a DUI conviction from 1993 that resulted in a fine in excess of
$500. Question 9 on Form 23 asks if you have been convicted of a
crime that resulted in a fine of $500 or more. Obviously I have to
answer yes to this question. I can provide clear and convincing
evidence of strong moral character with many personal references but
I'm wondering if the IRS will even consider that because of my 1993
conviction. Answers strongly appreciated!

David Williams, the IRS head honcho for Paid Preparer Registration,
told us you need to include a good explanation of why the conviction
should be excused and you should be issued credentials. So come up
with a good reason and it's very likely you'll be cleared.


He's not trying to kick someone with one DUI out of the registration
program.
 
H

Hank Youngerman

I'm wondering if anyone knows if I would be eligible to become an EA
with a DUI conviction from 1993 that resulted in a fine in excess of
$500.  Question 9 on Form 23 asks if you have been convicted of a
crime that resulted in a fine of $500 or more.  Obviously I have to
answer yes to this question.  I can provide clear and convincing
evidence of strong moral character with many personal references but
I'm wondering if the IRS will even consider that because of my 1993
conviction.  Answers strongly appreciated!
Just as a personal comment, it would really suck if someone was
disqualified for something they did 20 years ago - regardless of what
it was! (With the exception of tax fraud or the like.)
 
T

Tax Student

Arthur,

Thank you for your response. I can't really come up with a creative
answer as to why this conviction occurred other than I was young and
stupid but what I can do is present a long and consistent record of
career and personal accomplishments following that unfortunate event.
With a little more research on this... I see to become an EA or CPA
with a misdemeanor conviction it's important to present character
references and to this effect, I could literally walk into the IRS's
office with an army of people behind me ready to present evidence of
strong moral character along with documented evidence of being
trustworthy managing money - i.e. I previously managed a hedge fund
for a number of years until the stress drove me out of the business.
From here I'm going to take the exam and then contact the IRS and see
what I need to do to get all my ducks lined up. As a point of
interest, I presently have a PTIN so the IRS already knows what exists
in my background. I know there's a big different between having a
PTIN and becoming an EA! Thanks again.
 
M

Mark Bole

Arthur,

Thank you for your response. I can't really come up with a creative
answer as to why this conviction occurred other than I was young and
stupid but what I can do is present a long and consistent record of
career and personal accomplishments following that unfortunate event.
With a little more research on this... I see to become an EA or CPA
with a misdemeanor conviction it's important to present character
references and to this effect, I could literally walk into the IRS's
office with an army of people behind me ready to present evidence of
strong moral character along with documented evidence of being
trustworthy managing money - i.e. I previously managed a hedge fund
for a number of years until the stress drove me out of the business.
what I need to do to get all my ducks lined up. As a point of
interest, I presently have a PTIN so the IRS already knows what exists
in my background. I know there's a big different between having a
PTIN and becoming an EA! Thanks again.
I had composed a longer response yesterday, that for reasons completely
unknown to me, I am unable to post either using my normal method or
Google Groups, after repeated attempts.

However, the gist of it was (with various references and cites to back
it up) that the law seems to be concerned with "disreputable conduct"
that involves creating bad tax returns or dishonesty, fraud, or breach
of fiduciary duty. This seems to apply to CPA's also, at least in
California. No mention is made of other types of crimes.

So I don't think other types of crimes are necessarily a barrier to
becoming enrolled. I believe you can also appeal a denied application.

Personally, I wouldn't go beyond just a very short, one or two sentence
statement of facts with regard to the question on Form 23.
 
A

Arthur Kamlet

I had composed a longer response yesterday, that for reasons completely
unknown to me, I am unable to post either using my normal method or
Google Groups, after repeated attempts.

However, the gist of it was (with various references and cites to back
it up) that the law seems to be concerned with "disreputable conduct"
that involves creating bad tax returns or dishonesty, fraud, or breach
of fiduciary duty. This seems to apply to CPA's also, at least in
California. No mention is made of other types of crimes.

So I don't think other types of crimes are necessarily a barrier to
becoming enrolled. I believe you can also appeal a denied application.

Personally, I wouldn't go beyond just a very short, one or two sentence
statement of facts with regard to the question on Form 23.

I second that, and note that som reason needs to be stated. Just
about anything you say there should get you out of a problem here.
 
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S

Stuart A. Bronstein

I second that, and note that som reason needs to be stated.
Just about anything you say there should get you out of a
problem here.
I don't know how they handle EA's in this situation. But for
lawyers, they want you to show you have been successfully
rehabilitated. My suggestion is to demonstrate that you have been
rehabilitated, by explaining the things you have done tthat show your
honesty and commitment to society. If you have friends (especially
those who are in positions that will indicate their honesty, like
other EA's, priests, etc.) letters from them attesting to your
rehabilitation and honesty would also help.
 
M

Mark Bole

I'm wondering if anyone knows if I would be eligible to become an EA
with a DUI conviction from 1993 that resulted in a fine in excess of
$500. Question 9 on Form 23 asks if you have been convicted of a
crime that resulted in a fine of $500 or more. Obviously I have to
answer yes to this question. I can provide clear and convincing
evidence of strong moral character with many personal references but
I'm wondering if the IRS will even consider that because of my 1993
conviction. Answers strongly appreciated!
I strongly suspect they will find your application acceptable.
Personally, I wouldn't even go overboard on your explanation of your
answer on the form, I'd just keep it to a simple statement of facts.

You can appeal a denied application, AFAIK.

When you look at the "Sanctions" section of Circular 230, the focus is
on actions that result in bad tax returns or that involve dishonesty,
neither of which would apply to a DUI conviction, nor many other crimes.
Any crime involving fraud, on the other hand, would probably be a
significant obstacle to becoming enrolled.

"§ 10.51 Incompetence and disreputable conduct.
(a) Incompetence and disreputable conduct. Incompetence
and disreputable conduct for which a practitioner
may be sanctioned under §10.50 includes, but
is not limited to —
(1) Conviction of any criminal offense under the
Federal tax laws.
(2) Conviction of any criminal offense involving
dishonesty or breach of trust.
(3) Conviction of any felony under Federal or
State law for which the conduct involved renders the
practitioner unfit to practice before the Internal Revenue
Service.
(4) Giving false or misleading information, or
participating in any way in the giving of false or misleading
information to the Department of the Treasury
or any officer or employee thereof[...]"

Further, Circ. 230 states that anyone disbarred or suspend by their
state as a CPA or lawyer is automatically subject to Circ. 230
sanctions. By way of example, the California Board of Accountancy lists
the following as examples of sanctionable behavior, again with an
emphasis only on those things directly related to providing accounting
services:

* Negligence or incompetence;
* Fraud, deceit and misrepresentation in the professional practice;
* Fraud or deceit in obtaining a license;
* Aiding and abetting unlicensed practice or any other violation of
the CBA's laws and regulations; and
* Conviction of a crime substantially related to the duties and
functions of Certified Public Accountants.

A similar recent discussion over at TaxAlmanac (scroll to the 2010
posts) seems to be in line with my views:

http://www.taxalmanac.org/index.php/Discussion:Enrolled_Agent_Exam

Lastly, I found the following footnote in an article but couldn't find
the original source document (but would like to; shouldn't this be
available through FOIA request?):

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+tax+practitioner's+guide+to+Circular+230.-a017930870

"See Referrals to the Director of Practice, Coursebook (Training
9994-102) (IRS, Dec. 1992), p. 4-4. While a conviction for drug
trafficking would constitute disreputable conduct under Section 10.51
(see pp. 4-8 and 4-16), if the conviction is for a crime less related to
a governmental interest or to practice before the IRS (e.g., a sex
crime), a finding of disreputable conduct is less clear. Nevertheless,
referral to the Director is recommended, who will make an appropriate
disposition; see p. 4-16."

-Mark B.
 
G

Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA

Tax Student said:
I'm wondering if anyone knows if I would be eligible to become an EA
with a DUI conviction from 1993 that resulted in a fine in excess of
$500. Question 9 on Form 23 asks if you have been convicted of a
crime that resulted in a fine of $500 or more. Obviously I have to
answer yes to this question. I can provide clear and convincing
evidence of strong moral character with many personal references but
I'm wondering if the IRS will even consider that because of my 1993
conviction. Answers strongly appreciated!
You've gotten some really good answers from Mark, Rich, Art & Stu. I would
like to add that primarily they are concerned about three things -

1 - are you a habitual criminal likely to get into financial trouble and be
willing to commit financial crime to get out of it?

2 - how long ago did you commit the offense?

3 - was the offense financially oriented?

For example, if you killed someone 20-years ago in the "heat of passion" you
would have a better chance of getting licensed as an EA than if you were
convicted of robbing a liquor store 5 years ago. Conviction for a crime
like embezzlement will pretty much keep you from ever working in a financial
field.

I also agree that your best bet is to be short, sweet, clear and simple in
your explanation. One paragraph should be sufficient, certainly don't go on
for more than one page (including the addresses and headings). I once had a
technical writing professor who said he could tell who knew what they were
talking about and who was bulls*****g by how long an explanation they
offered. The longer the dissertation, the less the writer tended to know -
hoping that by using a shotgun technique they would cover something that the
reader would find appealing.

Good luck,
Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA
 
J

Jonathan Kamens

Mark Bole said:
I had composed a longer response yesterday, that for reasons completely
unknown to me, I am unable to post either using my normal method or
Google Groups, after repeated attempts.
Sorry about that. It was a glitch in the spam filter for the
newsgroup.

For the record, if you encounter a problem where posting
methods that used to work stop working suddenly, you're
probably better off writing to the admin address for the
group, (e-mail address removed), which is in the header of every
posting, rather than attempting to repost the same message
eight times. :)

jik
 
D

D. Stussy

The fact that the conviction was more thn 10 years ago (with no prison time
and as opposed to more recently) does yield some weight in the decision.
 
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M

Mark Bole

For the record, if you encounter a problem where posting
methods that used to work stop working suddenly, you're
probably better off writing to the admin address for the
group, (e-mail address removed), which is in the header of every
posting, rather than attempting to repost the same message
eight times. :)

Heh he, thanx Jonathan. I seem to have an average of three or four
time-outs of this type per year, and I usually attribute it to my ISP or
NNTP service. So that is why I didn't bother the group admin, but tried
various tests on my own.

I'm curious, what in my message triggered the spam filter?

"drug trafficking" or "sex crimes"? ;-)

-Mark B.
 
M

Mark Bole

I don't know how they handle EA's in this situation. But for
lawyers, they want you to show you have been successfully
rehabilitated. My suggestion is to demonstrate that you have been
rehabilitated, by explaining[...]
[...] with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one
explaining what each one was [...]

"KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?"

(sorry, couldn't resist, with tip o' the hat to Arlo Guthrie).

-Mark B.
 
R

removeps-groups

I also agree that your best bet is to be short, sweet, clear and simple in
your explanation.  One paragraph should be sufficient, certainly don't go on
for more than one page (including the addresses and headings).  I once had a
technical writing professor who said he could tell who knew what they were
talking about and who was bulls*****g by how long an explanation they
offered.  The longer the dissertation, the less the writer tended to know -
hoping that by using a shotgun technique they would cover something that the
reader would find appealing.
How about:

I had a DUI conviction 20 years. Have been clean since. References
from friends and businesses (including a hedge fund) available on
demand.
 
T

Tax Student

How about:

I had a DUI conviction 20 years.  Have been clean since.  References
from friends and businesses (including a hedge fund) available on
demand.
On the initial application I'm going to be short and sweet about the
conviction and cite Circular 230 10.51. If I'm denied then I will>
appeal and turn it up full throttle. I believe I will be successful
upon appeal (assuming I have to go this route) because I have many
years of experience of honestly managing money for other people
whether it be in an investment setting or helping someone who is
mentally disabled and unable to manage her finances. In addition to
this I have began laying the groundwork for a business that offers pro
bono taxation representation so I think that will tip the scales in my
favor, if needed. Thanks again to all!!
 
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G

Gary Goodman

How about:

I had a DUI conviction 20 years.  Have been clean since.  References
from friends and businesses (including a hedge fund) available on
demand.

--
Tongue in cheek here:

"I was convicted of a DUI in 1993. Since then I haven't been convicted
of that or any other crime."

My point is to be careful how you word it. You don't want the
explanation to sound like you've been arrested many times, but the DA
simply couldn't get a conviction. When I was just out of college, I
was asked during an interview if I had ever been convicted of a
felony. I answered "No, I've never been convicted." The man
interviewing me shot back with "But they're still trying?" I got the
job. He recognized that I was just nervous.

I've worked for a couple of financial firms. The joke is that somebody
convicted of stealing $50 from a client's account is ruled out as a
potential employee, but if somebody is just out of jail for killing
somebody then there isn't a problem.

Gary
 
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