After a string of failures in the cryptocurrency industry and the emergence of artificial intelligence (‘‘AI’’), many observers would likely agree that crypto is tired and AI is wired. AI is making inroads into professional service industries and could drastically change the work of attorneys and tax practitioners. Despite the advantages of large language models, including generative AI like ChatGPT, the technology must be reconciled with existing ethical frameworks. The ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct (‘‘MRPC’’) and the Treasury Department’s Circular No. 230 (‘‘Circular 230’’) are just two examples of frameworks that pose obstacles for the adoption of ChatGPT by attorneys and tax practitioners.
ChatGPT has received significant attention as a legal tool, but relatively little has been said about the feasibility of the technology for tax practitioners. The MRPC and Circular 230 both require professional and ethical judgment for anyone using ChatGPT, but Circular 230 imposes far greater restrictions on tax practitioners. Most significantly, it effectively prohibits the use of the technology when tax practitioners are providing ‘‘written advice,’’ creating difficult considerations for tax accounting firms and other tax practitioners seeking to use ChatGPT to streamline costs. Given this obstacle and numerous others, tax practitioners should treat ChatGPT as a small piece of the puzzle rather than a panacea.
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Reproduced with permission from Tax Management Memorandum, 64 10, 5/8/23. Copyright 2023 by Bloomberg Industry Group, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bloombergindustry.com