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Home > Ethics > Ethics in Tax Practice: Florida
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Knowledge Level
Copyright 2015

Publication Date
March, 2015
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Ethics in Tax Practice: Florida
Introduction Organization Learning Objectives Author Bios
Title: Ethics in Tax Practice: Florida
Prerequisite: None
Advance Preparation: None
Knowledge Level: Basic
Subject Matter Area: Regulatory Ethics
Date of Publication: March 2015
Copyright © 2015 by Thomson Reuters/Tax & Accounting All rights reserved.
Recommended CPE Credits: 4 QAS/Registry (based on 50-minute hour)
Expiration Date: One year from date of receipt to complete program and submit quizzer to obtain credit
Passing Grade for Quizzer: 80 percent or higher

CPAs who prepare tax returns and represent taxpayers before the IRS and Florida State tax authorities are subject to a variety of rules that regulate their professional conduct. In addition to observing the rules of practice established by the Florida Board of Accountancy, Florida CPAs must also follow rules of conduct imposed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The AICPA's General Standards and Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTS) establish ethical standards for CPAs when practicing before any taxing authority—state, local, or federal. Treasury Circular 230 governs those authorized to practice before the IRS.

An overriding lesson to be learned in this training program is how these three sets of ethical guidance interact and fit together to provide a strong ethical framework for the CPA's practice of preparing tax returns and providing tax advice in the State of Florida.

This program examines each guidance document for the purpose of explaining the document to the participant and how each relates to the other. For example, guidance in one document, such as Circular 230, may be incorporated by reference in another document that requires compliance with "all federal and state regulations" because Circular 230 is a "federal regulation."

While State rules are the foundation upon which all other rules must rest, not all rules addressing ethical tax practice are addressed in the rules of the Florida Board of Accountancy. Where a rule appears in the SSTS or in Circular 230, this course will examine it to determine its application as an ethical standard.

Use of Materials

The user should begin by watching the streamed video segment, if any, or listening to the streamed audio segment, if any, for the chapter before reading the text. The user may wish to make notes of the most important concepts and any terms that are new. Next, the user should review the learning objectives at the beginning of the chapter and read the chapter. The user should work through each of the examples. After the user has studied each chapter, s/he should click on the link at the left to complete the interactive study questions. If the user answers a study question incorrectly, s/he should review the section of the text that is indicated at the end of the explanation to the study question to assure comprehension of the material. The user should review the learning objectives once more to consider achievement of the objectives. After the user has finished watching the streamed video, if any, or listening to the streamed audio, if any, and reading the text and working through the study questions, s/he may wish to review her/his notes and any sections of the text or video/audio, if any, that were difficult. When the user is ready, s/he should click on the link to the left to complete the quizzer. The user's CPE certificate will be provided immediately upon successful completion of the quizzer.

This program is divided into four (4) chapters and five (5) appendices and a glossary

Chapter 1 considers the rules of the Florida Board of Accountancy and disciplinary actions.

Chapter 2 provides in-depth coverage of Treasury Department regulation of tax matters.

Chapter 3 focuses on the AICPA ethical standards.

Chapter 4 presents several case studies that address issues involving the meaning of "preparer" for purposes of IRC §6694, the preparer's duty to maintain confidentiality, preparer due diligence and negligence, the duty to return client records, as well as other misconduct.

Appendix A contains the Florida Statutes governing the practice of accountancy and the rules of the Florida Board of Accountancy.

Appendix B contains Treasury Department Circular 230.

Appendix C contains IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, Instructions for Form 2848, Form 8275, Disclosure Statement, Instructions for Form 8275, Form 8275-R, Regulation Disclosure Statement, Instructions for Form 8275-R, Form 8886, Reportable Transaction Disclosure Statement, and Instructions for Form 8886.

Appendix D contains links to the AICPA's adopted Statements on Standards for Tax Services.

Appendix E contains links to Interpretaion Numbers 1-1 and 1-2.

Glossary defines frequently used terms

Helpful Guidance

Throughout this program, the user will find explanations and discussions regarding some of the issues that often face practitioners. In order to enhance the user's comprehension of the material and highlight important practical considerations, this program includes the following designations:

A BiskCPEasyalert is intended to warn the practitioner of a particular situation that may require action or other consideration by the client or the practitioner on behalf of the client.

A BiskCPEasypoint presents analysis or commentary that attempts to explain or clarify authoritative guidance.

A BiskCPEasytip provides practical advice that may be used to help improve client service or service to the practitioner's organization.

Upon successful completion of this program, the user should be able to

  • recognize the rules of the Florida Board of Accountancy to the CPA's tax practice;

  • recognize what a federally authorized tax practitioner can and cannot do under Circular 230 and the Internal Revenue Code with respect to tax practice issues, such as return of clients' records, contingent fees, supervision of assistants, tax return positions, etc.;

  • identify the sanctions and penalties the IRS can bring to bear on a noncompliant practitioner;

  • discuss the ethical guidance that is provided by the AICPA Statements on Standards for Tax Services and to whom they apply; and

  • recognize key points from the case studies presented with respect to the definition of a tax return preparer under IRC §6694, the preparer's duty to maintain client confidentiality, the preparer's duty to return client records upon request, and preparer "due diligence" and "negligence," as well as other misconduct.

E. Lynn Nichols, CPA (PA), a practicing CPA for more than 45 years, is the founder of Nichols Patrick CPE, Inc., a developer of continuing education programs and practice aids for CPAs. He is a regular contributor to CPE Network®, a volunteer member of the tax division of the AICPA, a member of the Board of Visitors of the School of Accounting in the College of Business of the University of Oklahoma, and a former member of the Editorial Board of the Ohio CPA Journal. Mr. Nichols was twice honored by the Ohio Society of CPAs for service to the accounting profession. Mr. Nichols serves as an advisor to CPA firms across the U.S. on matters of federal income taxation, litigation services, and IRS procedures. He has authored more than 20 highly rated tax CPE programs and his Current Federal Tax Developments program is always among the highest rated in the nation. (Author/Speaker)

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