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ChatGPT For CPAs And Other Tax Professionals


ChatGPT has immersed itself into the daily lives and work duties of many Americans since its introduction in November 2022. More than a year later, many industries are trying to determine how to best use this form of artificial intelligence to maximize time and money savings.

A series of surveys of tax professionals in the U.S., U.K., and Canada conducted between March and May 2023 found that 73% of tax professionals believe ChatGPT can be applied to tax work. Yes, there is a lot of potential for artificial intelligence, but what are the implications for professionals bound by standards like the Treasury Department’s Circular 230?

Circular 230 requires professional and ethical judgment. Circular 230 also appears to prohibit the use of ChatGPT when tax advisors are providing written advice.

This can make it difficult for tax accounting firms and professionals to streamline costs or provide quicker service. Because of this, tax professionals should tread cautiously. They should not treat ChatGPT as a cure-all because that will lead to ethical issues and possible license loss.

ChatGPT is a type of Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT). GPTs are trained on large datasets of text and can generate human-like content in not only text form, but also images and audio. GPTs expand on their initial training by learning from user interactions.

However, ChatGPT is not without its drawbacks. It has drawn criticism due to confidentiality concerns and inaccuracies, so it’s far from perfect.  It is impossible for a tax practitioner to rely on ChatGPT to form the basis of written advice in compliance with Circular 230. With ChatGPT’s known tendency to generate inaccurate responses, any written advice provided by ChatGPT would be based on unreasonable factual assumptions.

The use of ChatGPT presents confidentiality issues for tax professionals and others who maintain sensitive client information. The company that created ChatGPT, OpenAI, collects personal information and user content. This information could easily include tax return information or other client-sensitive information if the data is entered by a tax return preparer into a ChatGPT search prompt. ChatGPT not only collects user content, but also uses this information to communicate with other users.

ChatGPT pools user inputs and uses the information to learn and pattern its future responses. When a user shares information with ChatGPT using a routine voice prompt, the information is shared with all other ChatGPT users. Tax practitioners who use ChatGPT in this manner risk unauthorized disclosure.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Certified Public Accountant Licensing Lawyer

When money is involved in a profession, so are ethics. CPAs need to ensure they are acting in an ethical manner at all times.

Allegations of unprofessional or unlawful conduct can lead to license loss. A Tampa certified public accountant licensing lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. can help you resolve disciplinary issues so you can keep your license. To schedule a consultation, call (813) 968-6633 or fill out the online form.