Accountants like all other providers of personal financial services are now required by law to inform their clients of their policies regarding privacy of client information. Accountants 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 in the course of our practice 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 situations, we stress the confidential nature of information being shared.
Protecting the Confidentiality and Security of Current and Former Clients’ Information
We retain records relating to professional services that we provide so that we are better able to assist you with your professional needs and, in some cases, to comply with professional guidelines. In order to guard your nonpublic personal information, we maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply 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 very important to us.
IRS Section 7216 Regulations
On January 1, 2009, IRS regulations under Internal Revenue Code section 7216 became effective. Treas. Reg. section 301.7216 represents a modification of previous regulations that had remained largely unchanged for 30 years. The newly 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. section 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 involves the use of the return information by the preparer potentially for the purposes of offering non-tax services to the taxpayer.
Under section 7216, a tax return preparer is subject to a criminal penalty for “knowingly or recklessly” disclosing or using tax return information. Each violation of section 7216 could result in a fine of up to $1,000 or one year imprisonment, or both. Internal Revenue Code section 6713, the companion civil penalty, imposes a $250 penalty on a preparer for each prohibited disclosure or use of the return information.
Because of these rules we are no longer able to provide copies of tax returns to bankers and other third parties who may need a copy of your return if we have not received a proper disclosure form prior to completing your tax return. We appreciate your cooperation.
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