A federal district court said that Black & Decker Corp. could not refuse an IRS demand for copies of tax planning communications | Norton Rose Fulbright
MINOR MEMO. A federal district court said that Black & Decker Corp. could not refuse an IRS demand for copies of tax planning communications from its accountants, Deloitte + Touche, on grounds that the communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege. The court suggested the only circumstance where communications from an accounting firm would be privileged is where the accounting firm is helping lawyers “translate” difficult materials so that the lawyers can provide legal advice. However, the court did find that the particular communications in this case were protected from disclosure to the IRS under a separate “work-product privilege” that protects materials prepared in anticipation of litigation. It also said that Black & Decker did not waive this privilege by selectively disclosing to the IRS a formal opinion that Deloitte gave it about the transaction. The case is Black & Decker v. United States. The court rendered its decision in mid-September.