The Law Office of Michael B. Nelson, Inc. continues to assist foreign financial institutions, FFI, and their customers who fall under the rules of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA; additionally providing guidance concerning the treatment of financial institutions located in jurisdictions that have signed intergovernmental agreements for the implementation of FATCA (IGAs) but have not yet brought those IGAs into force. We also vigorously represent clients in all areas of compliance before the U.S. Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Appeals Division, and Federal Tax Court. Unlike other Attorneys, CPA, Enrolled Agents, and Financial Planners; we only represent clients in international planning and tax preparation, becoming compliant, applying and working through amnesty programs Federal and state, IRS compliance audits and Federal Tax Court. If you are facing the compliance issue at any stage, please call us for a confidential consultation.
Note: Matters of Confidentiality before communicating with the IRS.
Although differing between states, each state’s rules on confidentiality for lawyers prohibits disclosure of information relating to representation of a client, with limited exceptions. However formulated by each state, the duty of confidentiality generally applies to matters communicated in confidence by the client and to all information relating to the representation, whatever its source. In addition to the ethical duty, the evidentiary attorney-client privilege protects confidential communications made to the lawyer by a client for the purpose of obtaining legal advice and confidential communications made by the lawyer to the client in the course of rendering legal advice (whether or not that advice is based on a privileged communication from the client).
In relation to CPA representation, Rule 301 of the AICPA Code provides that a CPA “shall not disclose any confidential client information without the specific consent of the client.” Rule 301 does not apply, however (and inter alia), to relieve a CPA of certain legal obligations and professional duties. Tax clients of CPAs now enjoy a limited version of the attorney-client privilege. However, the parameters of that privilege have yet to be explored. The new privilege is meant to apply in circumstances where the attorney-client privilege would apply if the tax adviser were an attorney. However, there remain many untested areas of this Rule and ambiguity definitely exists.
Also note that when a client is to be represented before the IRS, a Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representation, Federal Form 2848, see http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2848.pdf, is a very important document prepared for your signature as well as communicating this form to the IRS. If you look at Part II, Page 2, you will see who can represent you. Not only does your representative have this document, the IRS will have this document to determine, among other items, who represents you and what is their professional capacity. Lawyers are able to represent you before the IRS, but also before Federal Tax Court should you not agree with the results of the IRS audit. For the most part, CPA, Enrolled Agents and others are not licensed for such representation in a Federal court. The IRS knows this and may plan their audit accordingly when concluding their audit findings. Of course, I believe this to be not beneficial to the client.