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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 87E: Public accountancy; records incidental to rendering services; confidential information

Section 87E. All statements, records, schedules, working papers, and memoranda made by a licensee or a partner, member, shareholder, officer, director, or employee of a licensee, incident to, or in the course of, rendering services to a client in the practice of public accountancy, except the reports submitted by the licensee to the client and except for records which are part of the client's records, shall be and remain the property of the licensee in the absence of an express agreement between the licensee and the client to the contrary. No such statement, record, schedule, working paper, or memorandum shall be sold, transferred, or bequeathed, without the consent of the client or his personal representative or assignee, to anyone other than one or more surviving partners, member or stockholders or new partners, member or stockholders of the licensee, or any combined or merged firm or successor in interest to the licensee.

A licensee shall furnish to his client or former client, upon request and reasonable notice:

(1) a copy of the licensee's working papers, to the extent that such working papers include records that would ordinarily constitute part of the client's records and are not otherwise available to the client; and

(2) any accounting or other records belonging to, or obtained from or on behalf of, the client which the licensee removed from the client's premises or received for the client's account. The licensee may make and retain copies of such documents of the client when they form the basis for work done by him.

Except by permission of the client engaging a licensee or the heirs, successors or personal representatives of such client, a licensee or any partner, member, officer, shareholder or employee of a licensee shall not voluntarily disclose information communicated to him by the client relating to and in connection with services rendered to the client by the licensee in the practice of public accountancy. Such information shall be deemed confidential; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting the disclosure of information required to be disclosed by the standards of the public accounting profession in reporting on the examination of financial statements, or as prohibiting disclosures in court proceedings, in investigations or proceedings conducted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, in ethical investigations conducted by private professional organizations, or in the course of quality reviews.