Washington (Dec. 31, 2003) -- As part of what it says is a broader effort to strengthen professional standards, the Internal Revenue Service has tapped high-profile tax attorney Cono Namorato as director of the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Namorato joins the IRS from Caplin & Drysdale's Washington office, where he was a partner specializing in representing individuals and corporations in white collar criminal investigations. Prior to joining Caplin & Drysdale in 1978, he worked for ten years in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, eventually serving as deputy assistant attorney general in charge of criminal tax enforcement.

“I am delighted that a professional of Cono’s status is taking on this assignment,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “He shares my concern about the erosion of professional standards among some attorneys and accountants. This appointment should signal an expectation that tax practitioners live up to their professional obligations.”

The Office of Professional Responsibility investigates allegations of misconduct or negligence against tax practitioners and enforces the standards of practice for those who represent taxpayers before the IRS. The office also licenses enrolled agents.

The move is one of several steps Everson has taken to enhance the effectiveness of the OPR. Over the last year, the office’s staff has been doubled and its director sits on the IRS Enforcement Committee, a panel of senior agency executives who develop strategies on the top compliance problems facing the IRS. The commissioner also recently charged the OPR with conducting a broader review of the IRS’s overall relationship with the practitioner community.

-- WebCPA staff

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