As a result of a decision by a hearing panel of the Joint Trial Board, Ms. Goode’s AICPA membership was suspended for one year effective July 1, 2011. Ms. Goode was also directed to complete twelve hours of continuing professional education courses by December 31, 2011, as follows: Professional Ethics: The AICPA Comprehensive Course–8 hours; Ethics for Tax Professionals: Circular 230 and the SSTSs–2 hours and Selected Topics in Professional Ethics–2 hours.
Ms. Goode was found guilty of violating the following rules of the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct:
Rule 202 – Compliance with Standards
Ms. Goode failed to observe the requirements of Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTS) No. 1, Tax Return Positions, in that she signed returns taking a position that she did not believe had a realistic possibility of being sustained administratively or judicially on its merits if challenged. Ms. Goode sent letters to the IRS and Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) stating the client had unsubstantiated expenses on returns which she had signed as paid preparer, and suggested that the IRS and IDOR examine the client’s returns.
Rule 501 – Acts Discreditable
Ms. Goode committed acts discreditable to the profession in that she attempted to obtain payment of outstanding invoices from her client by threatening to notify the IRS and IDOR of the inaccuracy in the reporting of paid preparer and representative information; retaliated against her client for non-payment by sending letters to the IRS and IDOR stating that the client had unsubstantiated expenses on returns, and suggested that the IRS and IDOR examine her client’s returns; and signed the returns stating that the returns were based on all information of which she had knowledge, while her letters to the taxing authorities indicate that she had knowledge that the expenses on her client’s returns could not be substantiated.