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ACCT 542 California State University Use of the IRS for Taxpayer Clients Case Study

It is the summer of 2021. Assume there has been no lawsuit as described above. Assume Jim,
after not having come back to you to prepare the tax returns, makes and appointment for you to
represent his S-corporation in an audit. You are going through a slow period and can use the
extra money to cover your expenses.

Jim comes in alone and says he wants to protect his wife from his problems as much as possible,
but for the tax years under audit, 2019 and 2020, he filed a joint return with Jane and is
concerned that Jane will be liable, along with him, if there is a balance due. Jim thinks there is
the possibility of a large balance due as a result of the audit.

Jim appears to be very nervous, his mustache area is perspiring, and appears very flush. He then
states, “I think I did something really stupid.”

Estimate that you will incur about 40 hours of billable time on this audit from start to finish, that
you will have 3 to 4 meetings with the auditor before the auditor presents his findings and asks
you to ask your client for an agreement to the additional tax, interest and penalties, if applicable.


1) Do you take the case?
2) If so, what conditions do you place on who you represent and who you don’t represent?
3) What effect will there be on Jane if the corporate audit turns out poorly, and why?
4) How much will you charge up front to take the case?
5) How will you collect the remainder if Jim might be slow to pay?
6) If Jim fails to pay your second bill, how much time do you give him to find another CPA
before you inform Jim and the IRS that you no longer represent Jim?
7) What if the IRS auditor says, “I will need a power of attorney from Jim and a power of
attorney from Jane appointing you as their representative so that I can discuss changes that may
be made to their personal return as a result of the corporation’s audit”? Do you provide the IRS
with a power of attorney signed by Jane appointing you? If not, why not? Is there an alternate
form that allows the IRS to talk to you about Jane’s tax matters?
8) Is there anything you can do to minimize the chance that Jane will sue you if the corporation’s
audit turns out poorly? If so, what can you do?
9) What do you say to Jim right after he says he did something stupid?
10) What other type of professional should you recommend that Jim hire? And, at what stage
should that professional be hired?


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