Holding an accountant liable for tax preparation errors

It is often said that there are only inevitabilities in life: death and taxes. Given the complexities associated with the latter, you might actually prefer the former. This is why you hire someone (such as an accountant) to prepare your return every year. Yet it is important to remember that these professionals are not infallible; in fact, many often come to our tem here at St. Denis & Davey PA after having had to answer for tax errors made by their accountants wondering what (if any) legal recourse is available to them. 

When you hire an accountant to do your taxes, you do so assuming his or her advanced knowledge will allow you to avoid errors that you might otherwise make. Your frustration (and subsequent desire for compensation) may be understandable, then, if you later discover your return is rife with mistakes anyway. Accountants (like all professionals) have a standard that they are expected to adhere to. According to the Journal of Accountancy, holding an accountant responsible for tax preparation requires that you prove the following: 

  • That the accountant owed a duty to you
  • That he or she failed in meeting that duty
  • That you suffered because of it
  • That your suffering was a direct result of his or her errors

Proving that the accountant owed you a duty is relatively simply provided you have a written contract detailing his or her services. The same is true in showing that he or she did not fulfill his or her obligations (your error-filled return demonstrates as much). Your suffering and the cause of can be shown in sharing whatever feedback the IRS provided in conjunction with your penalties. You can learn more about holding your accountant responsible for his or her errors by continuing to explore our site. 

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