A Slow Tax Pro

Today TaxMama hears from George in Delaware, with this problem. “What should I do about an accountant that I have used for the first time this year? He has still not completed everything or gotten back to us. I realize that an extension has been filed, but this be the first year we should do estimated tax payments and we haven’t.”

TaxMama answers Tax Questions

Dear George,

Frankly, any tax professional that wants to keep his or her clients should behave much more professionally than that. This slowness does seem to be an affliction of tax offices. I must admit that I don’t know why this should be so.

In my case, it has more to do with the fact that I have made it clear to my client base (for the last 7 years) that preparing tax returns is no longer my priority – and have tried to encourage them to work with other tax pros I’ve recommended.

Each tax pro, regardless of how slowly they work, should provide the first two estimated tax vouchers to all clients who need them when they prepare the extensions for April 15th. That covers their clients until just before the 3rd voucher is needed on September 15th. Even our office does that.

What can you do at this point? Well, since this is your first time dealing with this person – and you are not at all satisfied – call them and tell that you are coming in to pick up your records on a specific date and time. Follow that up with a written communication in the form of a letter or fax. Then, show up to pick up your records.

By law, all tax professionals must return all your original documents whether you pay them or not. There is no requirement to return any of their work product without payment. However, since they have nothing that you can use, there is no need to pay them. Naturally, since they did get you an extension, it would be honorable to pay for that service. Period.

Incidentally, never give anyone all your originals without making a copy. You never know when something will get lost or destroyed, or burned up, or…And that way, you’re also never at someone’s mercy.

If you get no response from him, or he refuses to return your documents, do two things:

1) File a Form 4506-T with IRS and request transcripts of all the W-2s and 1099s on file against your Social Security Number, and your spouse’s. Check box 8. There is no charge.

2) Contact the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility and file a complaint.
http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/agents/article/0,,id=123370,00.html

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about annoying tax professionals and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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