The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has proposed a new ethics rule on communicating with audit committees concerning independence.

Rule 3526 would require an accounting firm to communicate to a company's audit committee about any relationships between the firm and the company that might reasonably affect the firm's independence. The communications would be required before the firm accepts any new engagement, as well as annually for continuing engagements.

The PCAOB also proposed an amendment to Rule 3523, on tax services for persons in financial reporting oversight roles. The amendment would exclude the portion of the audit period that precedes the beginning of the professional engagement period.

The board is seeking comment on the proposals and has adjusted the implementation schedule for Rule 3523 to allow time for the comments to be received.

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