The Internal Revenue Service’s Return Preparer Office has entered the world of social networking with a new presence on Facebook.

The new Facebook page, at http://www.facebook.com/IRStaxpros, aims to build on the IRS’s outreach to the tax professional community. The IRS began requiring tax preparers to register for a Preparer Tax Identification Number this past tax season, and it is in the process of rolling out new requirements for testing and continuing professional education.

In announcing the new Facebook page in an email Friday to tax professionals, the IRS said it “has opened another communications avenue that it hopes becomes a two-way street. Yes, we’re talking Facebook. The Return Preparer Office is entering a strange world of ‘friends’ and ‘likes’ and other words we’re not used to hearing.”

The new Facebook page outlines a “comment policy” for visitors, just in case, and warns tax preparers against disclosing any private taxpayer return information or personal tax questions. Tax preparers are warned not to post any personally identifiable information about their clients, along with any email addresses, telephone numbers, mailing addresses or identification numbers such as PTINs, EFINs or SSNs., as well as so-called “sensitive but unclassified (SBU) information.”

Tax preparers are also urged to refrain from any “violent, obscene, profane, hateful, abusive or racist comments,” or “comments that threaten or defame the reputation of any person or organization.” Also forbidden are “advertisements or solicitations of any kind,” “comments that suggest or encourage illegal and/or improper activity,” or “off-topic posts or repetitive posts that are copied and pasted such as spam.”

The IRS opened a Twitter page for tax professionals, @IRStaxpros, ahead of this past tax season.

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