Understanding CPA Communication Privileges In Tax Practice

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2.0 Credits

This overview provides a discussion of the various confidentiality privileges that shield taxpayer communications with their non-attorney tax professional from discovery by the Federal government in tax controversy matters.

Taxpayers are entitled to assert confidentiality privilege under Internal Revenue Code Section 7525 similar to the common law attorney-client privilege with respect communications with CPAs and Enrolled Agents.

Also, some taxpayer communications with any expert, including CPAs and Enrolled Agents, enjoy privilege protection from discovery by the government under the "work product" doctrine. Also, communications between clients, attorneys, CPAs and Enrolled Agents may enjoy privilege protection under the "Kovel" judicial doctrine when the professional is retained to assist an attorney.

The significant limitations attached to those non-attorney privileges are critical for those tax professionals to understand and to avoid compromising a taxpayer communicating with an expectation of privilege that will not withstand challenge. The course offers the perspective of the non-attorney tax professional with experience in addressing each of the privilege issues in tax practice.


  • Understanding the nature of the common law attorney-client privilege including the various issues surrounding "waiver" of the privilege.
  • Obtain an understanding of the nature of protected communications between taxpayer-clients and the non-attorney Federally Authorized Tax Practitioner.
  • Learn about the significant limitations with regard each of the respective privileges.
  • Obtain an understanding of how to handle privilege communications from a documentation standpoint.

Major Topics

  • The Federally Authorized Tax Practitioner (FATPs)
  • Understanding the attorney-client privilege
  • The Section 7525 Statutory Privilege and Limitations
  • The Work-Product Doctrine and Privilege and Limitations
  • Kovel Engagements and Limitations

Designed For

CPAs, EAs and other tax return preparers.


Tax practitioners with two-years experience and a working knowledge of the AICPA Statements on Standards for Tax Services and IRS Circular 230.

Advanced Preparation