The Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Professional Responsibility has disbarred a former Massachusetts CPA and attorney for falsely claiming to be a CPA on power of attorney forms that he submitted to the IRS even after his CPA license had been revoked.
Charles M. Edgar was licensed as a CPA and lawyer in Massachusetts. In December 2010, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Public Accountancy revoked his CPA license based, in part, on his 1995 federal conviction for making false statements to the government in connection with claims for disability benefits and mail fraud. Edgar’s license to practice law in Massachusetts was suspended in 1995, based on the criminal convictions. His petition for reinstatement to the Massachusetts bar was denied in 2001.
In May 2011, subsequent to the CPA license revocation, Edgar attempted to represent two individual taxpayers under audit by the IRS. He filed two powers of attorney (Form 2848) in which he claimed to be a CPA duly qualified to practice in Massachusetts.
In a formal disciplinary proceeding, an administrative law judge determined that Edgar had engaged in misconduct in violation of Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice before the IRS. Edgar appealed the order of disbarment. In its initial decision and order, the administrative law judge, or ALJ, determined that Edgar’s “conduct demonstrates he does not have the integrity or character to be trusted representing taxpayers before the IRS.” The decision further stated: “The only appropriate sanction therefore is disbarment.”
The Treasury Appellate Authority concurred, finding the disciplinary proceeding was brought within the statute of limitations; that Edgar had given false and misleading information to a Treasury employee during the IRS examination process; and, that submitting false powers of attorney to the IRS was a “serious violation[s] that warrants a severe sanction.” The Treasury Appellate Authority upheld the order of disbarment on April 18, 2014. As a result of the proceedings, Edgar is barred from representing taxpayers before the IRS for a minimum of five years.
CPAs, duly qualified by a state, and lawyers, in good standing with a state, are permitted to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
“The representations made by practitioners on powers of attorney forms are not mere procedural niceties,” said Karen L. Hawkins, director of the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility, in a statement. “The forms are signed under penalty of perjury. Claiming a nonexistent licensure status puts the IRS in the position of potentially discussing taxpayer information with an unauthorized or unqualified person. We will not tolerate that type of abuse of the tax administration process by anyone.”
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