March 3, 2009 - Karen L. Hawkins has been appointed as Director of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Hawkins assumes the IRS position after 25 years in private practice with Taggart & Hawkins, P.C. in Oakland, California. Ms. Hawkins has been an active member of the California Bar for 30 years.
“Karen Hawkins brings a wealth of experience and insight to this job,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “She will play an important role in moving forward our overall strategy regarding tax professionals, including return preparers, and I look forward to working with her in this critical role at the IRS.”
"The Office of Professional Responsibility plays an integral role in our tax administration efforts," added Linda Stiff, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. "The Office helps ensure tax professionals meet the high standards that taxpayers need and deserve. We look forward to Karen joining the IRS leadership team."
Ms. Hawkins is the founder of the San Francisco Pro Se/Pro Bono Tax Court project, and she played a key role in recent efforts to reform the innocent spouse statute. Her honors include the V. Judson Klein Award from the State Bar of California Taxation Section in 2002; the National Pro Bono Award from the American Bar Association Tax Section in 2004; and the Jules Ritholz Memorial Merit Award from the ABA Tax Section Civil & Criminal Tax Penalties Committee in 2008.
Ms. Hawkins earned her J.D. and MBA - Taxation degrees at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
OPR sets, communicates and enforces standards of competence, integrity and conduct for attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries and appraisers who represent taxpayers before the IRS as set forth in Treasury Department Circular No. 230. OPR also manages the application and licensing process for individuals seeking to become enrolled agents and enrolled actuaries.
The California Franchise Tax Board is following legislation defining California's innocent spouse provisions, legislation Ms. Hawkins helped to write. She is a recent author of two LexisNexis California State Tax Practice Insights commentaries. Subscribers click here to view Overlooked Opportunities to Reallocate Joint and Several Tax Liability and Relief from Joint and Several Tax Liability in California is Governed by Federal Determinations.