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Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs)

The Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs) are enforceable tax practice standards for members of the AICPA.

The SSTSs and interpretations apply to all members regardless of the jurisdictions in which they practice and the types of taxes with respect to which they are providing services. Along with the frequently asked questions (FAQs), they make up the framework of AICPA ethical guidance for tax practitioners. This guidance delineates members' responsibilities to taxpayers, the public, the government and the profession. The SSTSs were originally issued in 2000 and were updated in 2009.

Upcoming revisions to the SSTSs

The AICPA's SSTS Revision Task Force is reviewing and revising the SSTSs to reflect the new ways tax practitioners work. If you have a comment or suggestion, please contact Henry Grzes at Henry.Grzes@aicpa-cima.com.

Standards

Statements on Standards for Tax Services No. 1–7

The Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs) are the AICPA's enforceable tax practice standards and apply to all AICPA members providing tax services.

Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 1, Tax Return Positions

This standard addresses a member’s obligations when recommending tax return positions or preparing or signing tax returns filed with any taxing authority.

Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 2, Answers to Questions on Returns

This standard addresses a member’s obligation when signing the preparer’s declaration on a tax return if a question on the return has not been answered.

Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 3, Certain Procedural Aspects of Preparing Returns

This standard addresses a member’s obligation to examine or verify information related to another taxpayer when preparing a taxpayer’s return.

Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 4, Use of Estimates

This standard addresses a member’s obligation when using the taxpayer’s estimates in the preparation of a tax return.

Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 5, Departure from a Position Previously Concluded in an Administrative Proceeding or Court Decision

This standard addresses a member’s obligation in a tax return position departing from the position determined in an administrative proceeding or court decision.

Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 6, Knowledge of Error: Return Preparation and Administrative Proceedings

This standard addresses a member’s obligation when there is knowledge of an error in a taxpayer’s return or related tax matters.

Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 7, Form and Content of Advice to Taxpayers

This standard addresses a member’s obligation concerning certain aspects of providing advice to a taxpayer.

Interpretations

Interpretations of Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 1, Tax Return Positions

These interpretations provide guidance on reporting and disclosure and tax planning.

Interpretation No. 1-1, Reporting and Disclosure Standards, of Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 1, Tax Return Positions

This interpretation provides guidance on reporting and disclosure standards for tax return positions.

Interpretation No. 1-2, Tax Planning, of Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 1, Tax Return Positions

This interpretation provides guidance when providing services in connection with tax planning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQs for Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 1, Tax Return Positions – Adequate Disclosure, Filing Returns and Reasonable Basis

These FAQs address questions related to adequate disclosure, filing returns and reasonable basis.

FAQs for Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 2, Answers to Questions on Returns – Reasonable Effort and Omitting Answers to Questions

These FAQs address questions on omitting answers to questions on returns and what constitutes a reasonable effort to obtain taxpayer information.

FAQs for Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 3, Certain Procedural Aspects of Preparing Returns – Pass-Through Basis

These FAQs address scenarios when a member can rely on an S corporation's shareholder basis calculations.

FAQs for Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 4, Use of Estimates – Casualty Losses of Real and Personal Property

These FAQs address questions related to the use of estimates when assessing casualty losses for real or personal property.

FAQs for Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 4, Use of Estimates – Earnings and Profits

These FAQs address questions on the use of estimates when accounting for earnings and profits.

FAQs for Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 4, Use of Estimates – Home Office

These FAQs address questions on the use of estimates when accounting for home offices.

FAQs for Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 6, Knowledge of Error: Return Preparation and Administrative Proceedings – Errors on Return

These FAQs address questions about what a member should do when he or she discovers an error on a return.

FAQs for Statement on Standards for Tax Services No. 7, Form and Content of Advice to Taxpayers – Communication and Documentation

These FAQs address communicating and documenting tax advice to taxpayers on tax matters.

Tax Section

The go-to source for tax practitioners. Access all the AICPA’s Tax Section content on AICPA.org.