Tax Opinions and Other Tax Advice — Preparation, Use and Reliance (Portfolio 619)

Part of


Tax Management Portfolio, Tax Opinions and Other Tax Advice — Preparation, Use and Reliance, No. 619, describes the legal and ethical standards and practical principles for preparation of opinions about United States federal tax issues. It focuses on the duty of persons that provide written advice on tax issues that may be reported on tax returns submitted to the IRS. The Portfolio does not address duties solely related to the preparation of tax returns though some rules applicable to tax return preparation are analyzed to the extent they apply to the authors of tax opinions.

The overriding authority of Circular 230 in the format and content of tax opinions is analyzed. The application of evidentiary privileges to tax opinion preparation, the hierarchy of legal authorities and their weight in reaching a conclusion, and the various types of written advice are described.

The information contained in this Portfolio is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute legal, accounting, or other professional advice or services, and that the publisher and author expressly disclaim any liability for alleged damages resulting from reliance on this information.

This Portfolio may be cited as Erwin, 619 T.M., Tax Opinions and Other Tax Advice — Preparation, Use and Reliance.


Joseph M. Erwin, Esq.

Joseph M. Erwin, University of Arkansas, B.A. (with honors), 1976; Southern Methodist University School of Law, J.D., 1979, LL.M. (Taxation), 1980; member, Arkansas Bar, Texas Bar, U.S. Virgin Islands Bar, Bar of England and Wales; private law practice, Little Rock, Arkansas (1980–1991); Assistant Attorney General (Tax), U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Justice (1991–1994); private law practice, St. Thomas, V.I. (1994–1996); Tax Manager, CSC Continuum Inc. (1996–1997); Senior Manager, International Corporate Services, KPMG LLP, Austin, Texas (1997–1998), Dallas, Texas (1998–2000 and 2002–2003); Senior Manager, KPMG Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft AG, U.S. Corporate Tax Group, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2000–2002); contributor, various tax publications. Current practice in Dallas, Texas includes tax audits and tax litigation in all federal courts and voluntary disclosures; taxation of investment into the United States by non-U.S. persons and investment by U.S. persons into foreign countries; and tax aspects of immigration and expatriation, asset protection, foreign gifts and estates of U.S. individuals and foreign individuals with U.S. connections and family.

Working Papers