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South Carolina court rejects "unauthorized practice of law" rules.

The South Carolina Supreme Court rejected rules proposed by that state's bar association that would have prohibited CPAs from engaging in estate planning work and income tax practices other than preparation. The South Carolina Bar Association claimed such worked constituted "the unauthorized practice of law."

The American Institute of CPAs, the South Carolina Association of CPAs and several national CPA firms worked together to oppose the rules. John Hunnicutt, AICPA group vice-president-government affairs, termed the court's rejection of the rules "a huge success."

The court order held that "CPAs do not engage in the unauthorized practice of law when they render professional assistance, including compensated representation before agencies and the Probate Court, that is within their professional expertise and qualifications."

The court refused to adopt a comprehensive definition of the unauthorized practice of law, favoring instead the more limited approach of resolving that question "in the context of an actual case or controversy." The order noted the court's "respect" for the CPA profession and the "unique status" CPAs hold.
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Title Annotation:Supreme Court
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 1992
Words:169
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