Accountant Client Privilege Law and Legal Definition

Accountant Client Privilege is the protection afforded to a client from an accountant's unauthorized disclosure of materials submitted to or prepared by the accountant. Accountant-client privileges are of two types: evidentiary privileges and non-evidentiary privileges. An evidentiary privilege is one that may as a general rule be successfully asserted in a court of law. A non-evidentiary privilege is one that may not be maintained in a court of law or which is, according to the terms of the statute granting the privilege, not applicable in the face of an order from the court compelling disclosure of the communication for which the privilege is claimed. For example, Texas has a privilege rule that requires that a certified public accountant (CPA) should not voluntarily disclose information communicated to the CPA by a client in connection with the engagement without the client's permission. The privilege generally does not apply in case of an administrative summons by the Internal Revenue Service under 26 U.S.C. § 7602, in the case of a summons under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or in the case of a court order. Generally, the evidentiary and non-evidentiary versions of the accountant-client privilege are creations of Federal or state statute.