Tax ethics and standards

AICPA reiterates its strong concerns about IRS voluntary certification program

The AICPA on Tuesday sent a 14-page letter to the IRS, expressing its strong concerns that a proposed IRS voluntary certification program for unenrolled tax return preparers “would cause significant legal problems that may ultimately frustrate the IRS’s goals, confuse the public, and lead to litigation.” The IRS is expected

New rules for providing written tax advice are finalized

The IRS issued final regulations under Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R. Part 10), on the rules for practitioners to provide written tax advice and certain other related provisions (T.D. 9668), adopting the proposed regulations (REG-138367-06) issued in September 2012 with some modifications. The

AICPA has “deep concerns” about IRS voluntary certification of return preparers

Following the defeat in federal court of the IRS’s tax return preparer regulation program, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has commented that the IRS should consider a voluntary certification program for tax return preparers. On Wednesday, the AICPA sent the commissioner a letter, expressing its “deep concerns” about such a program.

Conflicts of interest and client consent

Section 10.29 of Treasury Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R. Part 10), generally prohibits a practitioner from representing a client before the IRS if the representation involves a conflict of interest. Under Section 10.29(a), a conflict of interest exists if: (1) The representation of

Report reveals breadth of criminal tax activities

From shady tax preparation businesses to identity theft gangs to corrupt IRS agents, the IRS Criminal Investigation division’s annual report reviewing its accomplishments in 2013 reveals the wide range of criminal tax activities it investigated in the past year. And, the report points out, despite a continued significant decline in

D.C. Circuit affirms decision striking down tax return preparer regs.

The IRS’s attempt to regulate unenrolled tax return preparers was dealt another blow on Tuesday as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the agency exceeded its statutory authority when it issued regulations imposing various requirements on tax return preparers (Loving, No. 13-5061 (D.C. Cir. 2/11/14), aff’g No. 1:12-cv-00385

Work product protection and attorney-client privilege in an IRS audit

In Veolia Environnement North America Operations Inc., a U.S. district court reviewed the scope of the work product rule and the attorney-client privilege in the context of an IRS audit. The dispute arose out of an IRS audit of a $4.5 billion deduction for worthless stock claimed by Veolia Environnement

Are courts ready to protect more accountant-client communications?

Recent court decisions, especially those involving corporate tax reserve accrual workpapers, indicate that the judicial view of the accountant-client relationship is changing and that courts may be willing to provide greater protection for communications between accountants and their clients.

New York state proposes to regulate tax return preparers

Stepping into the void left when a federal court threw out the IRS’s registered tax return preparer program (see article here), the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has proposed amendments to its Personal Income Tax Regulations and Procedural Regulations to regulate tax return preparers (N.Y. Comp. Codes

The rules on providing client records

Suppose a CPA who prepared a client’s tax returns receives a request from the client that the CPA transfer all of the client’s tax records to a new firm. The client includes the appropriate Sec. 7216 consent to disclose authorization to transfer the records. What are the CPA’s responsibilities and

Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning

This spring, following a two-year drafting process involving practitioners from across the AICPA, the AICPA Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee issued an exposure draft for public comment on a Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Practice. The proposed statement addresses the responsibilities of AICPA members when providing personal

How can theft prevention, reporting, and return filing be improved?

Changing the April 15 due date, moving taxpayer information to the cloud, and allowing personal identification numbers (PINs) for taxpayers who want them were all on the table at a Thursday hearing held by the IRS Oversight Board to explore ways to combat fraud and improve tax administration. The board,

Confidential and privileged communications

As tax advisers, accountants should understand when communications and work product are privileged and when they are not. The IRS is granted significant power to pursue information in examining a tax return or collecting a tax liability, and the courts have interpreted this summons power as broad authority to obtain

Appeals court denies IRS request for stay in return preparer regulation case

The IRS lost another round in its court battle to regulate tax return preparers when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied its motion to stay an injunction halting its return preparer regulation program, pending appeal of a lower court’s decision (Loving, No. 1:12-cv-00385-JEB (D.C.

IRS regulation of tax return preparers struck down

A U.S. district court ruled that the IRS’s registered tax return preparer program exceeds its statutory authority and enjoined it from enforcing the regulations (Loving, No. 12-385 (D.D.C. 1/18/13)). In 2011 the IRS issued final regulations (T.D. 9527) making unenrolled return preparers (i.e., return preparers who are not CPAs, attorneys,

Rules on use, disclosure of taxpayer information finalized

The IRS issued final regulations under Sec. 7216 that govern the circumstances in which tax return preparers can disclose or use certain limited tax return information (T.D. 9608). The regulations finalize with minor changes rules that were issued in 2010 as temporary and proposed regulations (T.D. 9478 and REG-131028-09). The

IRS appeals decision striking down tax return preparer registration program

The IRS on Wednesday filed a Notice of Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit of the Jan. 18 district court decision that struck down the IRS’s registered tax return preparer program and enjoined it from enforcing the regulations (Loving, No. 1:12-cv-00385-JEB (D.D.C)

Court upholds injunction; IRS reopens PTIN system

The IRS announced on its Return Preparer Office Facebook page on Saturday that it has reopened its preparer tax identification number (PTIN) system for new applications and renewals. The announcement follows a clarification from the district court that struck down the IRS’s return preparer registration program, saying that the injunction


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Getting leases in line

ASC Topic 842 is a relatively simple standard that can mean profound changes for organizations with leases. This report examines what makes this standard challenging and describes new ways for CPAs to add value.