Federal law now requires Certified Public Accountants, along with all other providers of personal financial services, to inform their clients of their policies regarding the privacy of client information. We have been, and continue to be, bound by professional standards of confidentiality that are even more stringent than those required by law. Therefore, we have always protected your right to privacy.
Types of Nonpublic Personal Information We Collect
We collect nonpublic personal information about you that is provided to us by you or obtained by us with your authorization.
Parties to Whom We Disclose Information
For current and former clients, we do not disclose any nonpublic personal information obtained during the practice of our profession except as required or permitted by law. Permitted disclosures include, for instance, providing information to our employees and, in limited situations, to unrelated third parties who need to know that information to assist us in providing services to you. In all such cases, we stress the confidential nature of the information we share.
Protecting the Security and Confidentiality of Current and Former Clients’ Information
We retain records relating to professional services that we provide to better assist you with your professional needs and, in some cases, to comply with professional guidelines. We maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to guard your nonpublic personal information in compliance with our professional standards.
Please call if you have any questions because your privacy, our professional ethics, and the ability to provide you with quality financial services are critical to us.
IRS Privacy Regulations
On January 1, 2009, IRS regulations under I.R.C. §7216 became effective. Treas. Reg. §301.7216 represents a revision of previous regulations that had remained mostly unchanged for thirty years. The revised regulations attempt to address modern return preparation practices, including electronic filing and the cross-marketing of financial and commercial products and services by tax return preparers.
Absent a specific exception, Treas. Reg. §301.7216 generally prohibits the disclosure or use of tax return information without the client’s explicit, written consent. In general, a “disclosure” of tax return information involves a disclosure by the preparer of a client’s return information to a third party. A “use” of tax return information generally consists of the use of the return information by the preparer potentially to offer non-tax services to the taxpayer.
Under I.R.C. §7216, a tax return preparer is subject to a criminal penalty for “knowingly or recklessly” disclosing or using tax return information. Each violation of I.R.C. §7216 could result in a fine of up to $1,000, one year of imprisonment, or both. I.R.C. §6713, the companion civil regulation, imposes a $250 penalty on a preparer for each prohibited disclosure or use of the return information.