Statements on Standards for Tax Services
The AICPA’s Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs) are enforceable tax practice standards for members of the AICPA. The SSTSs apply to all members regardless of the jurisdictions in which they practice and the types of taxes with respect to which they are providing services. The SSTSs and interpretations delineate members' responsibilities to taxpayers, the public, the government, and the profession. They are intended to be part of an ongoing process of articulating standards of tax practice for members.
Under a 1999 resolution of AICPA Council, the Tax Executive Committee was authorized to promulgate professional practice standards with respect to tax services. These enforceable SSTSs apply to all tax services, and are designed to:
- Identify and develop appropriate standards in providing tax services and promote their uniform application by CPAs.
- Increase the understanding of CPA responsibilities by Treasury and IRS officials and encourage the development of similar standards for their personnel.
- Foster increased public compliance with and confidence in our tax system through awareness of good standards of tax practice.
- Enhance the CPA professional designation.
The SSTSs were originally issued in 2000 and were updated in 2009. The full text of the current SSTSs are available below, along with additional guidance and answers to common questions.
Upcoming revisions to the SSTSs
The AICPA's SSTS Revision Task Force is reviewing and revising its SSTSs to reflect the new ways tax practitioners work and is looking for insights into where practitioners think the future of tax will lead. If you have a comment or suggestion on how we can best update the SSTSs, please contact Henry Grzes at Henry.Grzes@aicpa-cima.com.
- SSTSs (full document): (PDF)
- SSTS No. 1, Tax Return Positions: (PDF)
- SSTS No. 2, Answers to Questions on Returns: (PDF)
- SSTS No. 3, Certain Procedural Aspects of Preparing Returns: (PDF)
- SSTS No. 4, Use of Estimates: (PDF)
- SSTS No. 5, Departure From a Position Previously Concluded in an Administrative Proceeding or Court Decision: (PDF)
- SSTS No. 6, Knowledge of Error: Return Preparation and Administrative Proceedings: (PDF)
- SSTS No. 7, Form and Content of Advice to Taxpayers: (PDF)
- Interpretations of SSTS No. 1, Tax Return Positions (full document): (PDF)
- Interpretation No. 1-1, Reporting and Disclosure Standards, of SSTS No. 1: (PDF)
- Interpretation No. 1-2, Tax Planning, of SSTS No. 1: (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- SSTS No. 1, Tax Return Positions – Adequate Disclosure, Filing Returns, and Reasonable Basis FAQs
- SSTS No. 2, Answers to Questions on Returns – Reasonable Effort and Omitting Answers to Questions FAQs
- SSTS No. 3, Certain Procedural Aspects of Preparing Returns – Pass-Through Basis FAQs
- SSTS No. 4, Use of Estimates – Casualty Losses of Real and Personal Property FAQs
- SSTS No. 4, Use of Estimates – Earnings and Profits FAQs
- SSTS No. 4, Use of Estimates – Home Office FAQs
- SSTS No. 6, Knowledge of Error: Return Preparation and Administrative Proceedings – Errors on Return FAQs
- SSTS No. 7, Form and Content of Advice to Taxpayers – Communication and Documentation FAQs
Reviewed May 9, 2019