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What is the best way to get tax documents back from a tax accountant?

We gave a tax accountant 3 years of tax information after she convinced us it was in our best interest to amend those years. She processed one year, things seemed to be going as planned. The deadline for the next year came, as did the excuses why it was not ready to refile, but the deadline passed and the excuses continued.

So we asked her to return our documents. For over a year now, we asked several times. There is always a reason why she didn’t have a chance to look for them, or promises she will, etc. We have been patient, understanding, and growing more concerned. I am past the point of caring about the financial aspect of this, I just want our information back.

Recently, I offered to move boxes for her or assist in anyway as she said our docs were packed and moved to her current business location. A moment later she informed me she already returned everything to my wife, which she did not.

I am at a loss as to what to do next and would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

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11 Responses to “What is the best way to get tax documents back from a tax accountant?”

  1. chriszchris said :

    walk into his office with a Louisville Slugger and tell him, “I want me tax docs now..or I’m going to hit a home run with your coconut”.

  2. Steve Coerper said :


    Better Business bureau, local TV station may have a ‘troubleshooter’ who can intervene, city attorney.

    Don’t wait and don’t offer any deals. She is messing with you and this is an area where you don’t need to be messed with.

    I would also strongly suggest that you do some basic study on your own of the income tax (I assume this is income tax info) laws, since every profession is a conspiracy against the laity. I know – the thought of studying tax law sucks, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. You are now in a very vulnerable position, due to your accountants malfeasance, and you need to know for yourself what your options are. And you already tried trusting an ‘expert.’

    Good luck. You will probably need it.

  3. Amanda said :

    Its obvious she has misplaced these documents. Confront her!

  4. ALFimzadi said :

    File a lawsuit. You have the right to your documents back, especially if she is missing deadlines which could be costly to you. I would confront her in person with both you and your wife, so that she can’t say she gave them back to the other person, and if she has them in a file at her office, she should be able to get them out right away for you. If she still can’t produce them, sue her. Also, check your credit ratings, she may be “purposely” misplacing them to use your credit and steal your identity.

  5. lade40free said :

    In the future, whenever you turn over any important documents to anyone…MAKE COPIES…. For now, I would demand the return of my documents and file a small claims suit against her requesting the return of the said documents.
    Other than that, there’s not much to do. If you really need the info., go to the issuing agencies and request duplicate copies. Good Luck!

  6. Othniel said :

    You will probably need to go to the accountant’s office and insist on her returning your documents to you. Do you owe her money? If you owe her money offer to pay her at that time.

    Did she improve your situation with the year she did do? If she didn’t then amending the other years is pointless. You probably have the actual return for the each year and gave her copies, so you are out the supporting documentation.
    If you owe her money and pay her she will more than likely “find” the supporting documentation and return it to you.

  7. [email protected] said :

    You should have made copies! Call your state capitol & tell them what happened. You’l get results w/N a week!

  8. bostonianinmo said :

    If this is a CPA, file a complaint with your State’s Board of Accountancy as well as the AICPA. Contact a lawyer and seriously consider filing suit for specific performance.

  9. FlCpa said :

    I’m absolutely with Bostonian – If this is a CPA what she is doing is against the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (even if you do owe her money she cannot keep original documents once requested by you) and considered “an act discreditable to the profession” and she can lose her AICPA certification for this behavior. Here is a link to the Interpretation 501-1:
    If she is a CPA and you mention that you are aware this is against her Code of Professional Conduct, I’m sure you will see action.

    If the preparer is an Enrolled Agent you can report the behavior to the IRS (I’m not sure what their punishment would be because I am not an Enrolled Agent).

    If you are not using either one keep in mind, for the future, that using someone certified as a public accountant gives you this piece of mind that you have recourse.

  10. Donald C said :

    Ask one more time then write or call the Office of CPA’s in your state. You will have to look on the net for the main CPA license group. Then contact the State Attorney General, The State Department of Taxation. Tax prep in my state is taxable. The basic idea is to inform her of your desire to have the documents, within a certain time frame. (do it in writing by registered letter return receipt) and explain the consequences of non compliance of you letter in the body of the letter. Make the letter a statement of fact, not a heated I’m going to get you letter.
    In the letter remind her that you have asked for the records several times, offered to move boxes etc. Then of course the last thing to do is to contact the IRS division of complaints or whatever it may be called. Hope this helps.
    Once you have the information, have someone fill out the amended the return, determine the amount of refund and contact an attorney if the refund is sizeable. I hate to give this advice as I am neither an attorney or a CPA, but in the state of ohio you have to pass an ethics class to become a CPA. I feel that if the paperwork was lost that would be one thing but she is dodging you and that is not cool. In addition to missing a filing date.
    Since she is a CPA she knows the consequences of missing a filing.

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