your bank calls and asks for a copy of your return, it’s not as simple
as just putting a copy in the mail to them. Our industry is famous for
myriad of regulations, and client document requests are no exception. We
face regulations from the state board of accountancy, state and
federal law, and other regulatory bodies. The Journal of Accountancy
recently published an article detailing
the requirements for keeping, accessing, and making available client records.

regulations start as soon as someone requests a document. We have to
have, in writing, the requestor’s relationship to the client. This
regulation is in place in order to safeguard against co-owners or
partners who’ve become involved in a dispute. Our loyalty is firmly tied
to our clients, and we want to be sure that all requests are given
approval by them.

a third party is requesting documents, our first priority is our
clients’ privacy. We don’t release any information unless authorized by
the client, and a bank request isn’t always approved by the client. If
we do release documents, these third parties can later make a claim
against our firm, asserting that we provided data for them to base
decisions on.

documents are subpoenaed, we consult with our legal counsel to ensure
that we fully research and understand what’s being required, so as not
to endanger the client’s business or privacy.

of who is requesting a document, we’re bound by all regulations
pertaining to client confidentiality, privacy, and requests to produce
records. These include:

  • AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (the AICPA Code);

  • State board of accountancy regulations;

  • Regulations issued by the SEC, PCAOB, and state securities regulators;

  • Regulations and laws applicable to the client’s industry;

  • State privacy laws;

  • Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R. Part 10);

  • Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Secs. 6103(c) and 7216; and

  • Federal
    privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and
    Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology
    for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

streamline the document request process and to ensure that we’re
complying with all regulations, we’re making all client documents
available online through a secure, password-protected portal so you can
access them at any time. Feel free to contact us with questions or if
you need assistance. We’re happy to help.