August 31, 2017

Former IRS official Karen L. Hawkins of Yachats, Ore., named chair of ABA Section of Taxation

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2017 — Karen L. Hawkins of Yachats, Ore., has been selected to chair the American Bar Association Section of Taxation, the nation’s largest organization of tax lawyers. Hawkins will serve a one-year term to end August 2018

“It is no exaggeration to say that I am who, and where, I am today because of my 39-year engagement with the section and its members,” Hawkins said. “I am ready for the challenges to come and hope you will join me in keeping the Section of Taxation at the forefront of tax professionalism.”

Hawkins served as the director of the Internal Revenue Service Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), where she oversaw the standards of practice for tax professionals. Prior to government service, she was a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Taggart & Hawkins PC, where she specialized in civil and criminal tax controversy. 

Hawkins has held several leadership positions with the section. Prior to serving as last year’s chair-elect, she was selected as chair-elect in 2009, but resigned to serve as director of OPR. She also served as vice chair of professional services (now Continuing Legal Education) and as a member of the section’s council. Hawkins also was former chair of the IRS Liaison Meetings Committee, chair of the Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalty’s Penalty Subcommittee, a member of the IRS Advisory Committee and liaison to the director of OPR.

During her year as chair, Hawkins said she will focus on enhancing the section’s existing pro bono commitments to include tax assistance to the nation’s growing elderly population and to providing support for the Texas and Louisiana communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

The ABA Section of Taxation is the largest professional association of tax lawyers, with more than 17,000 members nationwide. Its goals include helping taxpayers better understand their rights and obligations under the tax laws and working to achieve a simplified tax system that is equitable and efficient. 

For more information about the Section of Taxation, visit its website,

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