February 6, 2020: Confidentiality agreements are becoming more frequent, but if a client asks you as an ICAEW member to sign one, should you? This article presents a number of important considerations. The rules are strict regarding the disclosure or use of tax return information by a tax preparer for marketing purposes. A tax return creator can use and manage a list of customer contact information for limited marketing purposes, but there are different requirements and limitations for that use. The main restriction is that the list can only be used to provide additional advice or services to prepare for the tax return to the client and not for the provision of other services or products [Treasury Regulations section 301.7216-2 (n)]. The rules are strict with respect to the exchange of information with tax returns outside the United States. A tax return creator cannot send tax return information outside the United States without the client`s prior consent – period. Conversely, a U.S. tax return officer may only use or disclose tax return information obtained by a tax preparer outside the United States if the taxpayer initially transmits the information to non-Americans. The U.S. tax preparer is a member of a U.S. branch of non-Americans.
the tax return is separate and disclosure or use is made to assist in the filing of tax returns [Treasury Regulations Sections 301.7216-2 (c) (3)]. Unlike the approval by the tax reporting officer of a statistical data collection officer, AICPA`s Interpretation 1,700.060 considers that confidentiality is compromised when a CPA responds to a third-party request that could lead to the transmission of the client`s information to others, even if the client is specifically identified. If the client`s information is considered confidential, a CPA would violate the AICPA rule regarding the disclosure or use of information, unless the client expressly accepts, preferably in writing. Our main goal is to provide our clients with the best accounting, tax and professional advice services we can. We are always committed to protecting the privacy of our customers. As a CPA company and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a more restrictive code of conduct than the provision of the FTC is considered. Increasingly, clients of CPA companies are defining confidentiality agreements as a precondition for the company`s obligation to perform professional services. These may take the form of a separate confidentiality agreement (NDA) or as a necessary provision to be included in the letter of commitment. Requests for signed confidentiality agreements may also occur occasionally during the transaction, as documents are requested by the client. Confidentiality agreements submitted by clients may also include definitions that extend the scope of confidentiality obligations. Although the CPA is required to treat customer information confidentially, this obligation does not apply to third-party confidential information that is not covered by the agreement. If the agreement requires the CPA to keep confidentiality about this information, discuss it with the client and consult with your own lawyer regarding the provision.