The Tax Law Institute as an Authorized CPE Provider has responsibility for matters involving Applicants' discipline and exceptions to administrative rules.
- Review at the Tax Law Institute has two categories of discipline that may be imposed for an Applicant's infractions of Program rules:
- reprimand and dismissal
- sanctions are imposed only after the Authorized CPE Provider has decided to institute formal disciplinary charges.
- Applicants have the right to a hearing conducted electronically by the Faculty and the right to be represented by counsel.
- reprimand or dismissal becomes part of the participant's file and will be placed on the transcript, as well as reported, on appropriate inquiry, to the RPO at the Internal Revenue Service if the Applicant holds a PTIN or is a federally authorized tax practitioner.
- In cases in which an infraction by an Applicant is not sufficiently serious to warrant the imposition of formal discipline, the Authorized CPE Provider may issue a warning. Such a warning is placed in the Applicant's file but is not reported outside of the Tax Law Institute so long as the Applicant engages in no additional violations of the rules. If an Applicant who has previously received a warning again violates the rules, however, she or he may face disclosure outside the Institute of the initial warning, and/or more serious discipline for the subsequent violation than might otherwise have been imposed.
- The Authorized CPE Provider is responsible for the administration of discipline. Cases requiring discipline typically involve cheating, false statements, and similar departures from generally accepted standards of integrity. In such cases, it is usually best for the integrity of the program to terminate the participant's enrollment in the Tax Law Institute.
- Any threats, verbal or otherwise, made by a PTIN or federally authorized tax practitioner or Program Applicant against any member of the Tax Law Institute's Faculty will be treated as a serious offense and reported to the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Tax Court Office of Admissions and Discipline, and the FBI.
- The Faculty does not consider itself to be a disciplinary body. Its disposition is to handle matters that come before it as favorably to Applicant as possible consistent with the maintenance of the high academic and ethical standards of Tax Law Institute. In many instances matters that come to the Faculty's attention can be dealt with informally, without ever initiating disciplinary process. To this end, the Faculty may investigate a matter for purposes of determining whether it should be treated as disciplinary.
In those cases in which disciplinary proceedings are required, the Faculty will proceed in accordance with the following rules:
- The Faculty shall initiate formal proceedings by a written charge which explains the nature of the disciplinary infraction. Such charge shall issue only if the Faculty believes it is reasonably likely that the charged infraction can be established by clear and convincing evidence.
- In any disciplinary matter, the participant has a right to an electronic hearing before the Faculty.
- Applicant's in disciplinary cases may have legal counsel or lay adviser made a party to the electronic hearing. The participant must then give his permission for legal counsel or lay adviser to be made a party to the hearing. The Faculty will attempt to assist a participant who needs and desires but cannot afford counsel.
- A record of the hearing shall be kept by electronic or digital recording and transcribed, and shall be made available without charge to the Applicant or his or her representative on request.
- At the hearing the evidence against the Applicant will be presented and the Applicant shall have the right to call his or her own witnesses and to examine all witnesses. In the event a witness is or witnesses are not readily available, the Applicant may opt to withdraw the witness or witnesses or request a postponement of the proceedings, until such time the witness is or witnesses are available.
- It shall be the duty of the Authorized CPE Provider to assist the participant in preparing for the hearing by making available to the Applicant's counsel any electronic documents relating to the Applicant's disciplinary case. The Applicant must make such a request for document sharing with counsel in a written Request for Documents application. The Authorized CPE Provider shall also assist the Applicant in obtaining witnesses. This assistance may include a letter to the witness requesting his or her cooperation with the Faculty or such other efforts to secure the participation as may be appropriate to the circumstances.
- The faculty, at a disciplinary hearing, may consider any evidence that it deems to be relevant and trustworthy. Formal rules of evidence do not apply.
- The Faculty does not recognize a privilege of non-cooperation and may, therefore, draw such reasonable inferences from non-cooperation as it deems appropriate. Statements made or written communications sent to members of the Faculty and others are admissible at the hearing regardless of when made.
- Information obtained in confidence, whether medical or psychiatric, shall not be sought by the Authorized CPE Provider nor disclosed to the Faculty without the participant's consent. No weight is to be given to a Applicant's refusal to authorize disclosure of information pertaining to a medical or psychiatric matter. The absence of such information may, however, properly preclude the Faculty from considering a medical excuse, explanation, or justification in a particular case.
- Disciplinary sanctions shall not be imposed unless conduct warranting sanction is established by clear and convincing evidence. Decisions of the Faculty shall be by majority vote of the sitting members. In case of a tie vote of all the members of the Faculty present and voting, the vote of the Authorized CPE Provider shall determine the outcome.
- All decisions of the Faculty to impose sanctions shall be supported by specific findings of fact and conclusions, including, wherever appropriate, a statement or the reasons for the specific sanction imposed and the principles or policies on which the Faculty relies.
- In all cases in which the sanction voted by the Faculty is other than dismissal, the decision of the Faculty shall normally be final, and, if any such matter is presented to the Authorized CPE Provider for consideration, the Authorized CPE Provider shall first vote on whether the Faculty's decision raises such important and novel issues of policy or is made under such other extraordinary circumstances that the Faculty must consider the matter.
- In all cases in which the sanction voted by the Authorized CPE Provider and faculty is dismissal, the Applicant shall be afforded the right to a supplementary electronic hearing on the facts before a hearing officer appointed from the Faculty by the Authorized CPE Provider. The Applicant shall submit to the hearing officer in writing a statement indicating which of the factual findings of the Faculty the Applicant disputes, and why. At the hearing, the participant may call and examine witnesses and be represented in the same manner as before the Authorized CPE Provider and Faculty. The position of the Faculty shall be presented to the hearing officer by a person chosen by the Authorized CPE Provider in consultation with the Faculty. The hearing officer shall make a written statement of findings of fact which shall be returned to the Faculty. The Faculty may modify its findings of fact in light of the findings of the hearing officer, and may modify the sanction previously voted.
- In all cases in which the sanction voted by the Authorized CPE Provider and Faculty is dismissal, the Authorized CPE Provider shall review the findings and conclusions of the Faculty. No participant shall be dismissed except by the vote of the Authorized CPE Provider and two-thirds of the members of the Faculty voting.
- Where the Authorized CPE Provider reviews action of the Faculty, he may substitute his judgment for the Faculty's on matters of policy including the severity and nature of the sanction imposed. The sanction may be increased in severity as well as decreased. The Faculty's findings of fact shall not be modified unless, on the basis of the whole record, including the findings, if any, of the hearing officer, the Faculty's findings are not supported by substantial evidence.
- Should situations arise which are not covered by these rules or in which the application of these rules, in the judgment of the Faculty is inappropriate, the Authorized CPE Provider may formulate and follow an appropriate ad hoc procedure. In any event, departures from the rules of procedure shall not, ipso facto, constitute a defense to the imposition of a disciplinary sanction.
- Copies of these procedures shall be published and made generally available. The procedures shall also be electronically mailed to any Applicant involved in an Academic Review matter as soon as it appears that the matter may be treated as disciplinary.