Disclosure Policy Notification
April 27, 2012 Under Federal Law (15 U.S.C. 6803) CPAs and other providers of financial services are required to notify clients of their policy with respect to the disclosure of clients’ personal information.
Like all providers of personal financial services, certified public accounting firms licensed in Maryland are required by a 2012 federal law to inform their clients of policies regarding the privacy of client information. You likely receive privacy notices from banks, brokers, and credit card companies. These same client-privacy rules apply to CPA firms that prepare tax returns and do financial planning. Maryland CPA firms have been, and continue to be, bound by the following laws, regulations, and professional standards that protect, subject to certain exceptions, the privacy of client information.
- First, our code of professional conduct enacted by the Maryland State Board of Public Accountancy forbids disclosure of client information,
- Second, Maryland law grants to clients an accountant-client privilege so that Maryland CPA firms cannot be compelled, even in court, to disclose certain client information,
- Third, both Federal and Maryland laws have criminal penalties for tax return preparers who disclose client information, and
- Fourth, this firm is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and follows their Code of Professional Conduct which prohibits disclosing confidential client information.
Of course, all of the above protections can be waived with your express consent.
Types of Non-public Personal Information Collected by ACMI
ACMI collects certain information about you—but only when that information is provided by you or is obtained by us with your authorization. We use that information to prepare your personal income tax returns and may also use it to provide various tax and financial planning services to you at your request. Examples of sources from which we collect information include:
- Interviews and phone calls with you,
- Letters and e-mails from you and
- Tax return or financial planning organizers
Parties to Whom ACMI Discloses Information
As a general rule, ACMI does not disclose personal information about our clients or former clients to anyone. However, to the extent permitted by law and any applicable state Code of Professional Conduct, certain non-public information about you may be disclosed in the following situations:
- In the course of a review of our firm’s practices under the authorization of a state or national licensing board, or as necessary to properly respond to an inquiry or complaint from such a licensing board or organization.
- In conjunction with a prospective purchase, sale, or merger of all or part of our practice, provided we take appropriate precautions (for example, through a written confidentiality agreement) so the prospective purchaser or merger partner does not disclose information in the course of the review.
- As a part of any actual or threatened legal proceedings or alternative dispute resolution proceeding either initiated by or against us, provided we disclose only the information necessary to file, pursue, or defend against the lawsuit and take reasonable precautions to ensure that the information disclosed does not become a matter of public record.
Protecting the Confidentiality and Security of Current and Former Client’s Information
ACMI retains records relating to professional services provided so that we are better able to assist you with your professional needs and, in some cases, in order to comply with professional guidelines. So that we may guard your non-public personal information, we maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply with our professional standards. Please call if you have any questions, because your privacy, our professional ethics, and the ability to provide you with quality financial services are very important to us.