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Ethics in Tax Practice: Applying the Rules in the Digital Age


Gateway 2023: Annual Golden Gate University Tax Expert Update
Cost Free
Presentation Length 1.5 hours

Recorded DateFebruary 3, 2023
CPE:Not available
(archived webinars do not offer CPE credits)
Subject AreaEthics (Regulatory)
Course LevelBasic
Course Description

Ethical rules do not change from day to day, but our everyday life is constantly evolving. Today, taxpayers communicate via email and text, they buy and sell digital assets, and the law on how those assets are taxed is not always clear. How sure do you have to be before you tell a client it is okay to deduct their bitcoin losses? Can you rely on what the client tells you about how much crypto currency they lost when the exchange they used went bankrupt? Can the IRS force you to turn over your emails and texts with your clients? This program will address these and other questions that arise every day in the modern world.

Learning Objectives:

  • List the rules that govern practitioners and preparers who give advice to clients

  • Determine whether you can rely on your clients or whether you have to audit everything they tell you

  • Identify how sure you have to be before you give advice to a client

  • Define what your obligations are if you receive a request for information from the IRS

  • Recognize what makes an ordinary tax audit into a criminal tax prosecution

CPE and CE will be issued by For CLE credit consideration, contact Each state has different requirements for CLE and the participant should verify with their state bar association that this format meets those requirements.

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For more than thirty years, Bryan C. Skarlatos has represented individuals and corporations in sensitive matters, many of which involve negotiation or litigation with government agencies. He has significant experience in federal and state tax audits, appeals and litigation, criminal tax investigations, and white-collar criminal prosecutions. Mr. Skarlatos also has an active practice providing tax and estate planning advice.

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Karen Hawkins is the immediate past chair of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation. Karen is also a past chair of the State Bar of California Section of Taxation, the ABA Taxation Subcommittee on Civil Penalties, and the IRS Liaison Meetings Committee. She served as a director on the council of the ABA tax section and as the section's vice chair of professional services, and she is a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel.
Karen is the founder of the San Francisco Pro Se/Pro Bono Tax Court project, and she played a key role in the successful efforts to reform the innocent spouse statutes in both federal and California law. Her honors include the V. Judson Klein and Joanne Garvey awards from the State Bar of California Section of Taxation in 2002 and 2012, respectively; the National Pro Bono Award from the ABA tax section and the Judith McKelvey Distinguished Alumna Award from Golden Gate University, both in 2004; and the Jules Ritholz Memorial Merit Award from the ABA tax section’s Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties Committee in 2008. In 2012, Golden Gate University School of Law named its tax law library collection in Karen’s honor, and in May 2015, she received an honorary doctor of laws degree. In May, 2022, Karen was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the ABA Taxation Section.
Karen earned her JD and MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She also holds a master’s in education from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts. Karen has spoken and written extensively on all aspects of civil and criminal tax controversy issues and on ethics in tax practice.

About Our Sponsor

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Golden Gate University is a private, non-profit university in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1901, GGU specializes in educating professionals through its schools of law, business, taxation, and accounting.