Ethical standards for tax practitioners

To be ethical, according to Webster’s dictionary, one has to conform to the standards of conduct of a given profession or group. Therefore, the tax professional must comply with the legal requirements, as well as the rules of the AICPA ("American Institute of Certified Public Accountants"), to be ethical. The legal requirements, along with penalties for noncompliance, are found in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and Treasury Department Circular 230. The purpose of this paper is to present an outline of the legal and suggested requirements for tax practitioners. Since the law is often nebulous, the judgement of the tax professional, the judicial system, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be the guide to ethical behavior. Having and practicing ethical standards could result in less litigation, less confrontations with the IRS, and a good public image.