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Calif. attorney, law professor Sharyn Fisk to head IRS OPR

IRS building sign via GAO

Sharyn M. Fisk has been selected to take the helm of the Internal Revenue Service office that makes sure those folks who practice before the agency do so in a legal, professional and professionally ethical way.

Fisk, a professor of tax at the College of Business Administration at Cal Poly Pomona, will assume leadership of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in early 2020.

OPR oversees all tax practitioners, tax preparers and other third parties in the tax system who practice before the IRS. The office ensures these tax pros adhere to professional standards and follow the law.

The office also works to increase education, awareness and understanding of Circular 230. This is the Treasury Department publication that sets the rules governing those who practice before the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. This includes attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Enrolled Agents (EAs).

When necessary, OPR investigates and enforces cases brought against tax professionals in connection with the standards.

Sharyn Fisk_Cal Poly Pomona_head shot"This is a critical position for the nation's tax community, said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement announcing the appointment. "Taxpayers, the IRS and the tax community rely on this office to help uphold strong professional standards among tax professionals."

"Sharyn Fisk is extremely well respected both internally at the IRS and throughout the tax professional communities," added Rettig. "She has a strong set of skills and experience in many different settings that will serve the IRS well in this role."

Already advising IRS: Among Fisk's prior IRS experience is her two-year stint, which wrapped up this year, on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC).

This voluntary panel was established in 1953 and is a group of tax professionals to which the IRS Commissioner and division leadership can turn to for policy-shaping feedback.

As part of the 20-member IRSAC, Fisk served on the Wage & Investment Subgroup, focusing on tax administration problems pertaining to small businesses and the self-employed.

Helping taxpayers, too: In addition to advising the IRS, Fisk also has hands-on experience with some of the agency's customers, otherwise known as taxpayers.

Fisk served as director of Cal Poly Pomona's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. She also participated in the American Bar Association's Adopt-A-Base program, where she provided training to military VITA volunteers at a naval base in San Diego.

While in private practice, Fisk, a certified tax law specialist with the California State Bar, represented thousands of individuals, businesses and corporate taxpayers before the IRS, the Department of Justice Tax Division, federal and state courts and state taxing authorities. These matters involved civil examinations and appeals, criminal investigations and tax collection issues.

She also previously served as an attorney-adviser for the Honorable Maurice Foley, United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C., and has volunteered to assist unrepresented taxpayers for the pro se tax court calendar.

Professional participation: As a member of the of that professional group and

Fisk previously chaired a task force on behalf of the Standards of Tax Practice Committee for the ABA Taxation Section, as well as served chair of the taxation section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

She also has served as a former chair of the Tax Policy, Practice and Legislation Committee, articles editor of the California Tax Lawyer and as a member of Executive Committee for the Taxation Section of the State Bar of California.

Fisk earned her B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University, a J.D. from Rutgers University and an LL.M in taxation from the New York University School of Law.

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