On Demand

Ethics for Tax Lawyers: Answers to Your Most Difficult Questions

1h 2m

Created on December 05, 2019





The tax law is complicated and the right answer is not always clear. How sure do you have to be before you can tell a client it is okay to take a deduction, exclude income, or characterize income as capital gain?  Can you accept what a taxpayer tells you, or do you have to audit a taxpayer's records? When can the taxpayer be subject to penalties? And, when can you as the advisor be subject to penalties?  

This course, presented by Bryan Skarlatos of Kostelanetz & Fink LLP, is not a dry recitation of Circular 230 and the ethical rules. We will discuss the history and evolution of ethical standards for tax practitioners and we will use real life hypothetical examples to show how those standards apply in every day practice. All the sources of ethical standards in tax practice will be discussed including:

  • AICPA Statements on Standards for Tax Services
  • National Association of Enrolled Agents Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Tax Executive Institute Standards of Conduct
  • Circular 230
  • ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
  • ABA Ethical Opinions
  • Civil Penalty Standards
  • Criminal Penalty Standards

A course like this is essential for tax professionals who want to represent their clients effectively while staying on the right side of the line and avoiding penalties.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Analyze the ethical positions in the AICPA Statements on Standards for Tax Services to find out how certain you have to be before you can advise a client to take a tax position on a return
  2. Review the ethical guidelines in Circular 230 and recognize when you can rely on your client for information and when you have to dig deeper
  3. Explore the difference between professional ethical standards of conduct, Circular 230 standards, and tax penalties
  4. Study why penalties are assessed for misconduct, which penalties apply to what types of conduct, and who can be subject to penalties, the taxpayer, the preparer, or both
  5. Examine situations where practitioner conduct is so egregious that it can trigger a fraud penalty
  6. Discover what types of misconduct turn a civil penalty case into a criminal tax prosecution

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