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  • Goldburd & Co

Can I Sue My Tax Accountant?

YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER DO THAT. Okay, but, if you were GOING to, let's make sure you have grounds.

 

Tax season is often a blur. With piles of paperwork and never-ending deadlines, you trust your tax accountant to navigate the complexities of the tax code and ensure compliance with the law. However, if you find yourself concerned your tax accountant made errors or provided negligent advice and you no longer feel you can trust them you may be able to take legal action. Here, we discuss the circumstances in which you may have grounds to sue your tax accountant.

 

Duty of Care 

Tax accountants, like other professionals – owe clients a duty of care. This requires them to exercise reasonable skill, care, and diligence in providing services. When you hire a tax accountant, you expect them to possess the necessary expertise, and to act in your best interests.

 

Grounds for Legal Action

If you suspect that your tax accountant breached their duty of care, you may have grounds for legal action. A few common scenarios in which you might consider pursuing legal help include:

1.      Negligence: Your tax accountant failed to accurately prepare your tax returns, resulting in errors that led to financial losses or penalties

2.      Fraud or Misrepresentation: Your tax accountant intentionally misrepresented information on your returns or engaged in fraudulent activities leading to legal consequences for you.

3.      Breach of Contract: If you had a contract with your tax accountant outlining specific services to be provided, and they failed to fulfill their obligations, you may have a claim for breach of contract.

4.      Conflict of Interest: Your tax accountant had a conflict of interest that compromised their ability to act in your best interests, such as benefiting financially from certain tax strategies without disclosing potential drawbacks.


Steps to Take

If you believe the above circumstances fit your situation, it’s essential to take the following steps:

1.      Gather Evidence - Document any communication with your tax accountant – including emails, letters, and meeting notes. Retain copies of your tax returns and any related financial records

2.      Consult with Other Professionals - Seek a second opinion from another tax advisor to assess the accuracy of your returns and determine if any errors or negligence occurred.

3.      Attempt to Resolve - Before taking legal action, consider discussing your concerns with the tax accountant. They may be willing to rectify mistakes or offer compensation for any harm caused.

4.      Consider Mediation or Arbitration - If a direct negotiation fails, you may explore alternative dispute resolution methods, like arbitration or mediation to resolve the issue outside of court.

5.      Seek Legal Advice - If attempts to resolve the issue fail, consult with an attorney who specializes in professional negligence or malpractice. They can assess the strength of your case and advise you on the best course of action.


Next Steps 

Suing your tax professional is a decision that you should not take lightly. As a client, you have the right to expect competent and ethical service. If you believe your tax accountant acted negligently or breached the duty of care – you may have legal recourse to seek compensation for any resulting damages. By understanding your options and taking appropriate steps, you can protect your interests and hold your tax accountant accountable for their actions. Remember to seek guidance from qualified legal professionals to navigate this complex process effectively.

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