Tax Advisor’s Code of Practice
Tax Advisor’s Code of Practice (hereinafter referred to only as the „Code“) – applying to members to the Slovak Chamber of Tax Advisors (hereinafter referred to only as the „SKDP” – Slovenská komora daňových poradcov/Slovak Chamber of Tax Advisors), approved by the resolution adopted by the SKDP General Meeting, is based on the legislation governing the activities performed in connection with tax consulting in the Slovak Republic pursuant to Act No. 78/1992 Coll. on tax consulting and the SKDP as amended and also on the principle of professional ethics embedded by the Code of Confédération Fiscale Européenne (CFE), an organisation addressing the issues related to tax consulting, of which the SKDP is a regular member.
Purpose of the Code is to establish ethical requirements and ensure that high professional and moral standard is maintained by professional advisors while providing the tax consulting on the SR territory. That involves the application of the following rules and principles within the scope of tax consulting practice:
1. Independent nature of profession
1.1. While carrying-out the tax consulting related duties the tax advisor must maintain an independent approach with respect to tax advisor’s profession. This principle applies to both, the activities performed on behalf of tax advisor’s clients, as well as proper addressing of possible conflicts of interests among the tax advisor, client, tax administrator and other parties involved.
1.2. While carrying-out activities in connection with tax consulting the tax advisor shall exclude any biased position and possible influence of other entities with respect to an unbiased evaluation of his/her activity. The tax advisor must ensure that the principles of unbiased approach are adhered to also by all of his/her employees.
1.3. In the event the tax advisor has evaluated the conflict with his/her client in a legitimate manner and without any biased position as the alienation of mutual trust, he/she should consider the possibility of revocation of mutual business relations. The tax advisor should address the possible implications resulting of such procedure in a manner ensuring that no discrepancies with the existing legal regulations or principles of professional ethics may occur.
2.1. Any tax consulting activities provided by the tax advisor are subject to his/her own accountability. The tax advisor assumes the responsibility for performed activities and also for his/her employees´ activities. In the event the tax consulting activity is provided by a body corporate, the responsible tax advisor shall ensure that such activity is subject to supervision and audit of respective tax consulting by such body corporate.
2.2. Any risk on part of the tax advisor while carrying-out his/her professional tax consulting activity with respect to responsibility for damage resulting from any errancy in professional approach, negligence or implying from any other legally recoverable claims of a similar nature must be covered by an adequate commercial insurance of his/her professional liability.
2.3. The tax advisor shall carry-out his/her professional activity with the awareness of professional competence so that any harm to the goodwill of tax advisor’s profession and that of SKDP is prevented and refrain from any such acts which may discredit these principles. Therefore, any acts by the tax advisor with respect to clients, other tax advisors and professional consultants and professional public should be performed in a proper and most responsible manner.
2.4. Any provision of tax consulting services is subject to prior establishment of a contractual relationship with client. The contract should include the principal terms and conditions concerning the consulting, define the responsibilities, rights and obligations of tax advisor and client with the due respect of all provisions of Act on Tax Advisors and the SKDP internal regulations.
3. Diligence and conscientiousness
3.1. The tax advisor, while carrying out his/her profession, shall observe the respective legal regulations, internal SKDP regulations and shall respect client’s relevant instructions.
3.2. This principle requires that tax consulting work is performed as an independent activity based on an unbiased approach while evaluating any individual consulting case. Before the tax advisor accepts any commitment he/she should carefully verify in detail whether he/she would be capable of meeting the required tasks with an appropriate respect of tax advisor’s obligations and professional competence.
3.3. The main prerequisite for ensuring the ability of complying with the principle of professional diligence and conscientiousness is the continuous commitment of the tax advisor to acquiring and maintaining the professional knowledge and skills on the level allowing the client to gain an advantage from the use of his/her professional services and also not to impair the quality of services provided by tax advisor. This obligation applies also to tax advisor´s employees, and the tax advisor is obliged to establish appropriate conditions necessary for complying with the above requirement.
4. Secrecy and confidentiality of information
4.1. The secrecy and non-disclosure obligation applies to any information obtained by the tax advisor from his/her client or which he/she becomes familiarised with during performance of his/her work at client’s site. The tax advisor is obliged to ensure that any person receiving such information during performance of tax advising, and his/her employees in particular, handle this in a manner ensuring the non-disclosure of information.
4.2. The obligation of handling the information in a manner ensuring the secrecy and confidentiality shall also continue to exist beyond the date upon which the relationship between the tax advisor and client is terminated.
4.3. The tax advisor may only be freed from the obligation of keeping the particular subject in secrecy following the client’s approval made in writing or based on a decision of the respective court of law. The obligation of non-disclosing any information related to client applies equally to tax advisor’s employees toward investigative, prosecuting and adjudicating bodies in criminal proceedings and third persons, with due respect to the legal provisions being in force.
4.4. The tax advisor shall adhere to working procedures, while carrying-out his/her activities, ensuring that the contents of acquired information may be kept confidential. To ensure the confidentiality of information, the tax advisor shall observe legal regulations in force on archiving, data protection of data and information, or on obligation of reporting some types of information to the respective government authorities.
5. Specific features of consulting and other tax related issues
5.1. The tax advisor shall provide tax consulting work in a competent manner, with appropriate use of legal tools and shall respect, to the degree being in accordance with his/her conviction, client’s instructions with the view of properly assessing the client’s tax liability.
5.2. The tax advisor shall not keep the client in belief that the prepared tax return and consultancy provided is non-contestable, however, should ascertain that the client is aware of limitations concerning the subject of tax consulting.
5.3. While preparing the tax return the tax advisor should instruct the client that it is the client, in particular, who is accountable for the tax return contents. The tax advisor should take all indispensable steps to ensure that the tax return has been made in a correct manner based on supplied information and documents. Providing the justified reason exists, especially if information obtained was inaccurate or incomplete, the tax advisor is obliged to request from the client other parts of evidence or documents and subsequently verify these.
6. Conformable and non-conformable activities
6.1. The tax advisor should perform only such activities which are admissible and conformable with his/her profession and which pose no threats with respect to abiding by legal regulations, professional duties, and principles of professional ethics and reputation and seriousness of tax adviser’s profession.
6.2. The tax advisor shall abstain from the performance of any such activities on behalf of the client, or from an offer of other services if this involves an activity the performance of which might be perceived as the conflict with contents of this Code by the client.
7.1. The tax advisor shall provide and publish the information on his/her activities truly and in a usual manner, providing this is done with due respect to principles of ethics applying to advertising and publicity related procedures.
7.2. The tax advisor is disallowed to use in connection with marketing or promotion the tools or procedures that might discredit the goodwill of tax advisor’s profession and the SKDP position.
7.3. While promoting or presenting own activity, the tax advisor shall not overstate his/her capabilities, professional competence or experience and shall not disparage or discredit the activity of other tax advisors, or of any other third persons.
8. Relations among tax advisors and with other consultants
8.1. Any acts by the tax advisor influencing the activities of other tax advisors must be in accordance with standard practices of competition and encourage good relations with other holders of tax advisor’s licence.
8.2. The tax advisor terminating the contractual relationship with client shall provide the information acquired during the validity of contract period to the succeeding tax advisor only upon the client’s approval and after all the conditions of legal and ethical nature with respect to termination of the preceding contract have been duly complied with. At the same time, the tax advisor shall provide the client and the succeeding tax advisor the complete and undistorted information on actual tax liability, projects in progress, tax related disputes, etc.
9.1. The client is entitled to obtain the information on tax advisor’s remuneration in advance, before the tax consulting work has been started.
9.2. The remuneration of tax advisor should reflect the level of accountability, complexity and scope of tax related issues to be addressed and time needed for tax consulting.
10. Final provisions