The decline in ethics that took place over the 1990s hurt not only the taxpayers who took positions they shouldn't have taken, but it also hurt responsible tax practitioners, who saw their business taken away by the more aggressive practices, according to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark W. Everson.

"I started my job as an auditor with Arthur Andersen in the mid-1970s," Everson said. "And it was pretty clear what the standard was in any accounting firm or law firm at that time - it was to make sure that your clients adhere to professional standards and follow the law. Unfortunately, over time, this model has changed to risk management and value creation, and I think that has caused some problems for both the legal and the accounting professions."

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