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1. AICPA sues IRS to stop return preparer program  

BY Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.
An unenrolled preparer program is an “end run” around an adverse court decision, the Institute says. The AICPA filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in July, asking the court to halt the IRS’s recently introduced Annual Filing Season Program. The AICPA’s three-count complaint asks the court to declare the rule implementing the program unlawful and stop its operation.The Annual Filing Season Program, introduced June 30 in Rev.

2. IRS explains power-of-attorney requirements for corporate taxpayers   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Tuesday, the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) issued a bulletin clarifying when corporate officers or employees must have a valid power of attorney in order to represent the company before the IRS (OPR Bulletin 2014-12). The bulletin also discusses how the existence of a power of attorney may be evidence that the officer or employee is subject to the rules of Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R.

3. CPA practitioners sue to stop PTIN fees   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Two CPAs have filed suit in the U.S. district court for the District of Columbia, asking the court to stop the IRS from charging fees for issuing preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs), to obtain refunds of fees paid in the past, and to enjoin the IRS from asking for more information than needed to issue preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs) (Steele, No.

4. IRS introduces voluntary certification program for tax preparers  

BY Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.
After failing to win court approval for its mandatory tax return preparer regulation program, the IRS in late June introduced a voluntary certification program to take its place (Rev. Proc. 2014-42). Return preparers who sign up for the program and complete its continuing education requirements will be listed in an IRS database of return preparers.BACKGROUNDWhen the IRS lost its appeal in Loving, No.

5. Conflicts of interest and client consent  

BY Alistair M. Nevius
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 one client will be directly adverse to another client; or(2) There is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the practitioner’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person, or by a personal interest of the practitioner.However,

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

BY Gary Sanders, J.D. and Darlene Pulliam, CPA, Ph.D.
In Veolia Environnement North America Operations Inc., a U.S.

7. Engagement letters for the individual tax practitioner  

BY John F. Raspante, CPA and Stephen Vono
Professional liability insurance carriers and defense attorneys have always proclaimed that engagement letters are one of the first lines of defense in a malpractice cause of action against a CPA. After all, when drafted properly, engagement letters form the basis for an enforceable contract and should have caveats unique to the scope of service provided, the amount of risk inherent in the engagement, and the need to satisfy professional standards.The authors have seen a resurgence in the popularity and use of engagement letters, coupled with a renewed interest in having engagement letters reviewed and critiqued by risk

8. Are courts ready to protect more accountant-client communications?  

BY Stuart J. Bassin, J.D. and William DeVinney, J.D.
Accountants, particularly those working in the tax arena, regularly face questions concerning whether their communications with clients are confidential and protected from disclosure. When courts have decided these questions, the result frequently turns upon the legal characterization of the relationship between accountant and client.Historically, courts have been reluctant to extend the same protection to accountants that they extend to communications between clients and their attorneys.

9. The rules on providing client records  

BY Alistair M. Nevius
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 obligations? Multiple authorities must be considered.

10. Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning  

BY Alistair M. Nevius
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 financial planning (PFP) services.
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