Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1023885
 
 

Footnotes (93)



 


 



Accountants, Privilege, and the Problem of Working Papers


Paul D. Paton


University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law


Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 38, No. 2, 2006
Queen's Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-09

Abstract:     
Full and frank disclosure between corporate issuers and their auditors and accounting advisors is critical for maintaining access to the information required for audits and public confidence in the capital markets. While tax authorities in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have the power to make broad requests for working papers, in all four jurisdictions, legislation or administrative practice reflects the determination that the best approach for balancing tax and capital markets requirements is for the revenue authorities to seek working papers only in exceptional circumstances. Additionally, limited forms of privilege for accountants have been recognized in all four jurisdictions. In contrast, Canada Revenue Agency practices require broad disclosure of corporate information and working papers. This paper suggests that the result of CRA practice is to restrict access for auditors to information necessary for the assessment of financial statements and required by capital markets. It argues that by driving corporations to seek tax advice from lawyers rather than accountants, CRA paradoxically is creating an environment where less information, not more, is available for tax authorities. The author proposes that the CRA adopt a policy of requesting working papers and information only in exceptional and well-defined circumstances. Such a policy would accord with recent corporate governance reforms aimed at encouraging more open and transparent financial reporting, and would bring Canadian practice in this area into step with recent international developments.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 33

JEL Classification: M49, H25, M41, M47

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: October 23, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Paton, Paul D., Accountants, Privilege, and the Problem of Working Papers. Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 38, No. 2, 2006; Queen's Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-09. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1023885

Contact Information

Paul D. Paton (Contact Author)
University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law ( email )
3200 Fifth Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95817
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 931
Downloads: 128
Download Rank: 130,569
Footnotes:  93

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo2 in 0.297 seconds