Inquiry is made as to the propriety of giving information provided by clients to accountants and/or computer tax services retained by the attorney to assist in the preparation of clients' tax returns.
The attorney is retained by clients to assist in the preparation of personal income tax returns. The attorney utilizes the assistance of an accountant and/or a computer tax service in this preparation. Both the computer service and the accountant recognize the confidential nature of the information provided to them and agree to respect this confidentiality.
DR 4-101 requires the attorneys to preserve the confidences and secrets of clients. DR 4-101(D) recognizes that a lawyer uses the services of persons in addition to himself to provide legal service and provides that reasonable care shall be exercised by employees, associates and others to protect the attorney-client privilege and, further, that no privileged information may be revealed through an employee in the absence of informed consent and waiver by the client or the other exceptions contained in DR 4-101(C).
An attorney may utilize the services of an accountant and/or computer tax service in preparing the individual tax return only in the event that the attorney, realizing that such records may be subject to an IRS subpoena, has the informed consent of the client and has advised the client that this action may involve a waiver of the attorney-client privilege.
This 18th day of October , 1982.
John T. Henniss
Jackson C. Raulston
G. Wilson Horde
APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD