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Can you create a disclosure page for clients to sign and be able to print the form separately

Level 1
Would like to create an engagement letter that will print with the final return and be able to send to clients for electronic signature that will have their name pre-printed from Lacerte.
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5 Replies 5
Level 15

But you sign engagement letters with your clients before proceeding with any work, not after, though?

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Still an AllStar
Level 15

We include the Engagement Letter with the Organizer.


ex-AllStar
Level 1

Thanks for the thoughts....we do provide the engagement letter at the beginning, but the Federal and state requirements put us at liability.  We confirm with the clients their responsibilities, before during and after the engagement.  The question is more about a letter of understanding which we have them sign before signing their return of what their responsibilities are under the federal and state regulation for what happens after the tax return is completed.   The IRS finds it necessary to provide this in the regulation in the code, we believe that it is appropriate to provide that information to our clients.  We use it to educate and keep our clients engaged though out the years.

Fortunately, we have found a way include this.

 

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Level 15

@DesertDust wrote:

..we do provide the engagement letter at the beginning, but the Federal and state requirements put us at liability. We confirm with the clients their responsibilities, before during and after the engagement...


Responsibilities of both each party are and should always be defined clearly before an engagement.  Limits for liabilities should, likewise, be spelled out in the engagement letter upfront.  Why should anything change along the way?  Did your legal counsel advise you otherwise?


The question is more about a letter of understanding which we have them sign before signing their return of what their responsibilities are under the federal and state regulation for what happens after the tax return is completed.   The IRS finds it necessary to provide this in the regulation in the code, we believe that it is appropriate to provide that information to our clients.

Which Code section are you referring to?  I am not aware of this being covered in the IRC although Circular 230 does have provisions that govern the duties of preparers.

What happens after the tax return, such as the use of the tax return as well as limits for liabilities, should, again, be defined in the engagement letter upfront and not change during or after the return is completed.

If, during the preparation of the return, you became aware of material facts that expose you to unacceptable risks, that should be call for termination, the general terms of which should already be covered in the engagement letter and will be more clearly spelled out in the disengagement letter.

If there is any key information that you feel is significant to the defense of the tax return or position taken, especially those related to level of authority applied or representation made by your client, it should suffice to highlight and document each in the transmittal letter that is to be delivered with the return - since nothing in the transmittal letter changes or contradicts the engagement letter, there should be no need for a signed agreement from the client.  The responsibility for the client to review the return and inform you of anything that may require a change before filing it should already be covered in your engagement letter.

If I am not ready to sign a return, it would be because the information is not complete (or the client hasn't settle the fees).  It wouldn't be because it is not yet clear whether the client accepts each party's responsibilities after the return is signed because these are within the T&C's of the engagement letter the client has already signed.


We use it to educate and keep our clients engaged though out the years.

Your practice could be quite unique given the requirements you laid out.  A bit more additional context would help our understanding.

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Still an AllStar
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Level 1

Do not over think this -- nothing changes from the original engagement.   Clients have responsibilities after the return is completed -- it is their information and they have record retention requirements at a minimum - do not give credit for what they do not know or understand.  Ignorance of the regulations is not an acceptable excuse.

Think of it this way -- you purchase the a new washer and dryer - with all the latest technology -- even connects to your wifi  -- the sales person goes over how to use it and the warranty (what you need to do to maintain it), some time later it is delivered and installed.  Do you remember everything you learned at the time of purchase?   The installer goes back over everything to ensure you understand and asks for questions.   Nothing changes.   The installer asks you to sign a receipt that they have delivered, installed, made sure it was working and went over everything again with you.  Same process, simply put it is customer service.  

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