Your Signature Block Just Got Smaller
At the end of a lawyer’s email there is a lot of language that no one reads, no one pays attention to and no one cares about. So why do we put it there? A few years ago Treasury issued proposed regulations (known as Circular 230) which provided complicated guidelines by which a client can and cannot depend on an attorney tax opinion to avoid penalties. To avoid such guidelines, an attorney could put language at the end of any tax communication that the client could not rely on the communication and it could not be used for the avoidance of tax penalties. Every attorney and CPA started putting it on the end of all emails.
Treasury realized that the disclaimer at the end of all emails did not solve the problem and it was confusing for clients, attorneys and CPAs:
“Many individuals currently use a Circular 230 disclaimer at the conclusion of every e-mail…to remove the communication from the covered opinion rules…these disclaimers are inserted without regard to whether the disclaimer is necessary or appropriate…disclaimers are routinely inserted in any written transmission, including writings that do not contain any tax advice. The removal of former §10.35 eliminates the detailed provisions concerning covered opinions and disclosures in written opinions. Because amended §10.37 does not include the disclosure provisions…Treasury and the IRS expect that these amendments will eliminate the use of a Circular 230 disclaimer in e-mail and other writings.”
Review the new final regulations and make your correspondences shorter by removing the Circular 230 disclaimer from your email signature block and any written correspondences.