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Blogs, Online Networks Pose Ethical Questions, Could Trigger Rule Violations for Practitioners, Experts Say

Bloomberg BNA Daily Tax Report

March 21, 2012

Social media can create potential ethical pitfalls for tax professionals.  According to the article, “Penalties could also be triggered under Circular 230’s rules for practice before the Internal Revenue Service by unintentionally creating a professional-client relationship from the perspective of the taxpayer, experts said. Circular 230 gives taxpayers a form of relief if they can prove that they relied on a tax professional’s advice, even if that advice is a blog, tweet, or Facebook post, Galit Kierkut, a member of Sills Cummis & Gross P.C., told BNA March 14. Social media easily blurs the lines between professional and personal and is rapidly changing the way business is conducted, Kierkut said.”  As far as best practices, “Firms should establish and enforce social media policies, Kierkut said. The policies can protect the firm from potential liabilities and give grounds for termination if an employee violates them. Disclaimers should also be used when possible on everything from posts to profile pages, when the post length makes a disclaimer impossible, she said.”