What to Do If Your CPA Doesn't File Your Taxes On Time: A Guide for Taxpayers
MIDLAND, Michigan – Every year, millions of individuals and businesses rely on Tax Preparers, Enrolled Agents (EAs), and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to prepare and file their tax returns. While many tax professionals provide reliable services, there are occasions when tax returns may not be filed on time, leaving taxpayers in a challenging situation.
If you find yourself in this predicament, it's crucial to act swiftly to protect your financial interests and stay compliant with tax authorities. Here's a step-by-step guide to navigate the situation:
1. IMMEDIATE COMMUNICATION
First and foremost, reach out to your tax professional. Misunderstandings and oversights can happen or there may be a valid reason for the delay. Give them a reasonable period of time to respond (three days is generally reasonable before attempting to contact them again). As many tax professionals operate in small offices with limited (or no) support staff, don't be alarmed if you do not hear back immediately. A diligent tax professional may even have an out-of-office message or notification that will let you know when to expect a response.
If you have made more than three attempts to connect and they have not responded, then it's time to take additional action steps to advance your matter.
2. VERIFY EXTENSIONS
It's common for CPAs to file extensions, granting taxpayers extra time. Confirm whether this has been done on your behalf, and be aware of the new filing deadline.
3. ATTEMPT TO RETRIEVE YOUR DOCUMENTS
If you decide to switch to another CPA or handle the process yourself, ensure you obtain all your tax-related documentation.
4. CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES
If your current CPA is unresponsive, think about filing the tax return yourself using reliable tax software or engaging with another reputable tax professional.
5. ADDRESS ANY PENALTIES
Late filing can result in penalties. If you face any due to your CPA's delay, you can request an abatement. In certain situations, if it was the CPA's fault, they might bear the cost of penalties, although this may involve legal recourse.
6. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Review any agreement or engagement letter you've signed with the CPA. It should outline the services they've committed to provide and can be vital if there's a dispute.
7. SEEK PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE
If there's significant financial or legal fallout due to the CPA's actions, consider consulting with a tax attorney, enrolled agent or another CPA. These are the only professionals who are properly credentialed to handle your matter.
8. FILE A FORMAL COMPLAINT
For extreme cases where you believe there's been gross negligence or misconduct, you can file a complaint with the state board of accountancy or relevant professional bodies.
Remember, as a taxpayer, the ultimate responsibility for your tax filings lies with you, even when using professional services. Staying proactive, being informed, and maintaining open communication can safeguard you against unforeseen complications.
*Disclaimer: This news story is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or tax advice. Always consult with a professional regarding specific tax matters.*