Assemblywoman PAMELA R. LAMPITT
District 6 (Burlington and Camden)
Requires plaintiff to obtain affidavit of merit in malpractice suit against enrolled agent.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act requiring an affidavit of merit in certain lawsuits and amending P.L.1995, c.139.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1995, c.139 (C.2A:53A-26) is amended to read as follows:
1. As used in [this act] P.L.1995, c.139 (C.2A:53A-26 et seq.) , "licensed person" means any person who is licensed as:
a. an accountant pursuant to P.L.1997, c.259 (C.45:2B-42 et seq.);
b. an architect pursuant to R.S.45:3-1 et seq.;
c. an attorney admitted to practice law in New Jersey;
d. a dentist pursuant to R.S.45:6-1 et seq.;
e. an engineer pursuant to P.L.1938, c.342 (C.45:8-27 et seq.);
f. a physician in the practice of medicine or surgery pursuant to R.S.45:9-1 et seq.;
g. a podiatrist pursuant to R.S.45:5-1 et seq.;
h. a chiropractor pursuant to P.L.1989, c.153 (C.45:9-41.17 et seq.);
i. a registered professional nurse pursuant to P.L.1947, c.262 (C.45:11-23 et seq.);
j. a health care facility as defined in section 2 of P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-2);
k. a physical therapist pursuant to P.L.1983, c.296 (C.45:9-37.11 et seq.);
l. a land surveyor pursuant to P.L.1938, c.342 (C.45:8-27 et seq.);
m. a registered pharmacist pursuant to P.L.2003, c.280 (C.45:14-40 et seq.);
n. a veterinarian pursuant to R.S.45:16-1 et seq.;
o. an insurance producer pursuant to P.L.2001, c.210 (C.17:22A-26 et seq.);
p. a certified midwife, certified professional midwife, or certified nurse midwife pursuant to R.S.45:10-1 et seq.; and
q. a licensed site remediation professional pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2009, c.60 (C.58:10C-7).
As used in P.L.1995, c.139 (C.2A:53A-26 et seq.), “licensed person” shall also mean a person designated as an enrolled agent by the federal Internal Revenue Service.
(cf: P.L.2019, c.263, s.2)
2. This act shall take
effect on the 30th day next following enactment and apply to causes of action
filed on or after that date.
This bill would require a plaintiff to obtain an affidavit of merit in a malpractice suit against an enrolled agent, by adding enrolled agents to the list of professionals covered under P.L.1995, c.139 (C.2A:53A-26 et seq.).
Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards, and such status gives a tax practitioner the ability to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Enrolled agents are required to have previous experience within the IRS, or to pass a three-part test that covers both individual and business tax returns. Additionally, the IRS requires enrolled agents to complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years, and to comply with IRS ethical standards.
Affidavits of merit ensure that people providing professional services are insulated from frivolous malpractice lawsuits. An affidavit of merit provides that another professional in that field has certified that there is a reasonable probability that the actions of the defending professional fell outside the bounds of the acceptable standards in that field. New Jersey law presently requires that an affidavit of merit be submitted within 60 days after the complaint is filed or the lawsuit will be dismissed. In New Jersey, attorneys, accountants, architects, and a host of other professionals are already given this protection, and this bill would extend the same to enrolled agents of the federal Internal Revenue Service.