Services to Accounting and Law Firms

International Accountants for Practitioners - Business Woman and Man talkingSerbinski Accounting Firms provide confidential services to accounting. legal, and financial professionals in – International Taxation – Research, Planning & Compliance. We research and prepare returns and planning scenarios which you can present to your client under your own firm name or ours, with full confidence and confidentiality. We are licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, and as public accountants in Canada, and will be there for IRS or CRA queries, audits and other follow up with your client – including reminders of all foreign and domestic filing dates and requirements for your corporate or individual clients. We can represent your client in all IRS and CRA matters on your behalf.

Bulletin: Accountants obtain Privilege of Confidentiality for accountant-client communications in the U.S.

The United States has one of the most complex tax systems in the world, which becomes even more complex when coupled with the tax laws of Canada or another country. Why take a chance, and risk your client relationship when dealing in multiple jurisdictions? Our professional and experienced principals and staff will be pleased to offer you courteous and timely services in any international tax matter.

Contact us if you have the following individual client situations:

  • US citizens living outside the United States.
  • Foreign tax credits, earned income exclusions and related matters.
  • US citizens doing business abroad.
  • Canadian citizens living or working in the United States.
  • "Green Card holders temporarily absent from the United States
  • NAFTA (TN-1) Free Trade professionals contemplating taking on U.S. assignments
  • Transferred Corporate (L-1) visa holders working in the U.S.

Or the following corporate situations:

  • US Corporations with Canadian subsidiaries.
  • Canadian corporations doing business in the United States.
  • Canadian resident shareholders of US companies.
  • US resident shareholders of Canadian corporations.
  • Canadian residents performing personal services in the U.S. through Canadian or U.S. corporations.

We offer a complimentary initial consultation concerning any tax matter, and provide services on a fixed fee basis to assist your budget and billing process.

Privilege of Accountant-Client Communications

One major difference between the practice of attorneys and that of accountants has historically been the privilege of confidentiality extended in attorney-client communications, and the lack of confidentiality in accountant-client communications. Now, in the United States, accountants have finally been granted a limited privilege of confidentiality under certain circumstances.

Under the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of l998 the privilege of confidentiality in non-criminal federal tax matters, formerly available only for certain communications between attorneys and clients was partially extended to CPA's and other federally authorized tax practitioners. Section 7525 has been added, which extends the common law attorney client confidentiality privilege to tax advice furnished to a taxpayer-client (or potential taxpayer-client) to any individual authorized under federal law to practice before the IRS. While similar to the attorney client privilege, the confidentiality privilege is limited to certain tax advice. Sec. 7525 does not modify or expand the attorney-client privilege of confidentiality other than to extend it to CPA's. In addition, the new privilege does not apply to written communications regarding corporate tax shelters.

Here are some of the key features of the new Law:

  1. Both oral and written tax advice given by a CPA to a taxpayer-client can be protected.
  2. Tax advice on state and local tax matters are not covered, but may be protected under state CPA-client confidentiality laws.
  3. The confidentiality privilege does not extend to criminal tax matters, which should be referred to a criminal tax attorney. A letter which provides that the CPA is employed by an attorney may protect CPA-client communications.
  4. Separate engagement letters, billing statements and files are essential to preserve the confidentiality privilege for tax advice communications, including tax advice documents.
  5. Engagement letters should address the confidentiality privilege but it is the client's responsibility to establish and assert the privilege. The engagement letter should include an indemnity clause to reimburse the CPA for defending the client's rights under the confidentiality privilege
  6. The CPA's notes to the client file, mental impressions and thought processes may be protected under the confidentiality privilege.
  7. If a CPA does not communicate a tax advice document to the taxpayer-client, but retains it in his or her file, and if the document is closely related in time and materiality to the tax discussion, it may qualify for the confidentiality privilege.
  8. If the tax advice document is not communicated to the taxpayer-client, and is remote in time and materiality to the tax discussion, the document may still be protected under the work-product doctrine if prepared "in anticipation of litigation" or pursuant to employment by an attorney under an engagement letter.
  9. The confidentiality privilege may be waived if a CPA communicates a tax advice document to the taxpayer-client and sends a copy, to the latter's banker or financial adviser. This disclosure to a third party may cause the privilege to be waived.
  10. Attorneys who are employed by CPA firms will enhance the ability to have more information privileged.

At Serbinski Accounting Firms we have implemented measures to protect client information to the fullest extent possible. Please contact us for details of our privacy policy.