Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I'm Against It!

John DeBruyn posed this question: "Should blogs that deal with tax matters as you do here with TaxBiz carry a Circular 230 disclaimer. The question has come up with regard to the ABA-TAX discussion including such a disclaimer as something the list server slaps on every message that goes through." I take a Marxist approach to such things:
I don't know what they have to say,
it makes no difference anyway -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I'm against it!

Your proposition may be good,
but let's have one thing understood -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
And even when you've changed it or condensed it,
I'm against it!

I'm opposed to it.
On general principles I'm opposed to it.
The goal that Circular 230 attempts to achieve is quite simple: A letter from a lawyer or other tax advisor should not be the tax practice equivalent of buying a get out of jail free card unless the author of the communication stands behind it. Thus, idle cocktail party chatter cannot be relied upon as authority for a position that is latter determined to be without factual or legal foundation.

You will note that there is no disclaimer of any sort found on this blog. The reason is simple: As a reader, you ain't my client (even though you may otherwise be a client). Certainly, I do not believe that I need a disclaimer to establish the rather elemental proposition that questions and issues discussed here cannot be used to justify a position on a tax return if the issue is fact specific. For the same reason, one cannot generally rely on listserve discussions to justify a position on a tax return.

There are, of course, issues that present purely legal questions. Relatively few issues, however, fall into this category. To the extent that they do and I address them either on this weblog or on a listserve, I suppose that someone can quote me as secondary authority with respect to a particular return position. However, this does not seem to me to be an area of abuse that Circular 230 is intended to address, so I feel no need to publish a disclaimer either on this weblog or in conjunction with listserve comments that I might make or on apparel that I wear to cocktail parties.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"You will note that there is no disclaimer of any sort found on this blog. The reason is simple:"

Because anybody who actually can read can figure out it's blithering, bladdering BS.