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If the client's support for the tax accrual or matters affecting it, including tax contingencies, is based upon an opinion issued by an outside adviser with respect to a potentially material matter, the auditor should obtain access to the opinion, notwithstanding potential concerns regarding attorney-client or other forms of privilege. The audit documentation should include either the actual advice or opinions rendered by an outside adviser, or other sufficient documentation or abstracts supporting both the transactions or facts addressed as well as the analysis and conclusions reached by the client and adviser. Alternatives such as redacted or modified opinions may be considered, but must nonetheless include sufficient content to articulate and document the client's position so that the auditor can formulate his or her conclusion. Similarly, it may be possible to accept a client's analysis summarizing an outside adviser's opinion, but the client's analysis must provide sufficient competent evidential matter for the auditor to formulate his or her conclusion. In addition, client representations may be obtained stating that the client has not received any advice or opinions that are contradictory to the client's support for the tax accrual.
[Issue Date: March 1981; Amended: April 9, 2003.]