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The Member incorrectly prepared and filed a US tax return and the Canadian T1 tax return for a client which resulted in both tax returns being reassessed by the respective authorities.  The Member was not registered with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to prepare and file US tax returns, and was not trained to prepare them.  The Member treated the client in a rude and unprofessional manner when discussing the errors within the tax returns.
 
The Investigation Committee determined the Member contravened the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct as follows:

201. –Maintenance of the good reputation of the profession202.1        Integrity and due care
203 – Professional competence
205 – False or misleading documents and oral representations
 
The Committee recommended the Member:

  1. Accept a reprimand;

  2. Pay expenses of $2,369 plus GST;

  3. Pay a fine of $2,000, less any amount the Member refunds the client;

  4. Register with the IRS should the Member continue to prepare or file US tax returns; and

  5. Attend the following courses:

    1. PD Nexus: Public Practice Insights; and

    2. US Personal Tax – Fundamentals and US Tax – Personal Investment in Real Estate (if the Member continues to prepare or file US Tax returns).

The Member used disparaging and unprofessional language in email communications that the Member sent to a client regarding a dispute.
The Investigation Committee determined the Member contravened Rule 201.1 (Maintenance of the good reputation of the profession) of the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct.
 
The Committee recommended the Member:

  1. Accept a reprimand; and

  2. Pay a fine of $500.

The Member completed a Law Society Trust Report – Accountant’s Report (Report) for a lawyer. The Report required that all exceptions should be noted within the Report.  The Member did not identify some exceptions and did not report any exceptions within the Report.

The Investigation Committee determined the Member contravened the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct as follows:

201. – Maintenance of the good reputation of the profession
202.1 – Integrity and due care
203 – Professional competence
205(a) – False or misleading documents and oral representations

The Committee recommended the Member:

  1. Accept a reprimand; and

  2. Pay expenses of $2,065 plus GST.

The Member, while working in industry, stored and accessed numerous personal files on the work computer of their employer, which contained information about the Member’s personal accounting clients. The personal and confidential information of the Member’s clients were accessed by their employer after the Member was terminated by the employer.

During the investigation, the Member provided a resume which misstated the Member’s work history and provided misleading information.  The Member failed to maintain the reputation of the profession co-mingling their work and personal files and was not candid with the investigator or the Committee during the investigation.

The Investigation Committee determined the Member contravened the CPABC and CGA-BC Codes of Professional Conduct as follows:

CPABC Code of Professional Conduct

104.1 – Requirement to co-operate
201.1 – Maintenance of the good reputation of the profession
202. – Integrity and due care
205 (b) – False or misleading documents and oral statements

CGA Code of Professional Conduct

2nd Ethical Principle - Trust and Duties
6th  Ethical Principle - Responsibilities to the Profession

The Committee recommended the Member:

  1. Accept a reprimand

  2. Pay expenses of $4,273 plus GST; and

  3. Attend the seminar Shades of Grey: Ethics in the Work Place.

Ms. Niu prepared Notice to Reader financial statements and corporate tax returns for a client from 2014-2018 without obtaining a public practice license from CPABC.  The 2018 financial statements and corporate tax returns contained errors.  During 2017 and 2018, Ms. Niu changed the share structure of two companies owned by the client without their consent.  In addition, Ms. Niu erroneously issued a T5 information slip to a non-shareholder during 2018. Ms. Niu also maintained a website that advertises accounting services to the public.

The Investigation Committee determined Ms. Niu contravened the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct as follows:

CPABC Code of Professional Conduct
101.1(a) – Compliance with governing legislation, bylaws, regulations and the Code
201.1 – Maintenance of the good reputation of the profession
202. – Integrity and due care
205 – False or misleading documents and oral representations

CPABC Bylaws
700 (2) – Public Practice by CPA members

The Committee recommended Ms. Niu:

  1. accept a reprimand;
  2. pay expenses of $2,363 plus GST;
  3. pay a fine of $4,500;
  4. comply with CPABC public practice licensing requirements, if she continues to offer or provide public accounting services or other regulated services to the public;
  5. attend in-person 8 hours of CPABC professional development ethics seminars at the next available dates; and
  6. agree to the publication of this Determination and Recommendation in the Vancouver Sun and on the CPABC website.