What is §7216 and why should Tax Prepares be concerned about it now?
"Internal Revenue Code §7216 is a criminal provision enacted by the U.S. Congress in the 1971 that prohibits preparers of tax returns from knowingly or recklessly disclosing or using tax return information.
A convicted preparer may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both, for each violation. The Secretary of Treasury is permitted to grant exceptions to this general prohibition by issuing regulations. Treas. Reg. §301.7216 had been substantially unchanged for over 30 years and did not address the modern return preparation marketplace, particularly electronic filing and the cross-marketing of financial and commercial products and services during the return preparation experience. After a long process that included many public suggestions and comments, updated regulations were published on January 7 and July 2, 2008 and apply to uses and disclosures beginning on January 1, 2009.