On December 30, 2009 the IRS issued two revenue rulings (Rev. Ruls. 2010-4 and 2010-5) that provide guidance to tax return preparers on situations in which they will not be liable for civil or criminal penalties under IRC 7216 for disclosing or using tax return information.
IRC 7216 prohibits a tax return preparer from “knowingly or recklessly” disclosing or using tax return information. A violation could result in a preparer’s being charged with a criminal misdemeanor involving a maximum penalty of $1,000 or one year in prison, or both, plus costs of prosecution.
Read more at Journal of Accountancy and this website.