As promised, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board this week proposed for comment new rules related to independence and the provision of tax services by firms that audit public companies.

It's no secret that the oversight body has been keeping a close eye on the provision of tax services to audit clients. The board held a public roundtable discussion on the subject earlier this year. And when it unveiled its standards-setting priorities for 2005 last month during a meeting of its Standing Advisory Group, the PCAOB promised that hammering out proposed new ground rules governing the ability of accountants to offer tax services to their audit clients would top its agenda.

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