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ynb429

Can I Refuse to Pay My Accountant Due to His Error on My Tax Return

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I just had my taxes done by a CPA. He emailed me his completed return and said I owed $1500 and his bill for services was $500. I called him a day later and had a few questions and asked if there was some sort of mistake. He said he is a professional and it was correct. At that point I went to a different CPA for a second opinion which resulted in getting a return of $400 and $85 for her to prepare my return.
I went back to the first CPA to get my documents back and let him know I would not be using his services because of his mistakes and will be taking my business elsewhere. He said I still owe him $500. I let him know I gave him a chance to look over my return several days before and he didnt give me the time of day so I went to someone else and already paid to have it done correctly. He argued for a few and then offered to fix my return. I declined and was told I will be taken to small claims court for what he thinks I owe him.

My question is do I have to pay this CPA for doing my taxes wrong. I did not file the return he prepared. I was not given an agreement nor did I sign one. He has emailed me sever times and sent a letter to my house. Is this considerd harassment. Any advice will be greatly appreciated

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Have zero clue how this end up on car repairs board.  You're free to refuse to pay if you like, but that doesn't mean you don't owe him the money.

I suspect your contract isn't contingent on accurate work (just like a dentist, mechanic or anyone else).  Please note that I doubt the second CPA started all the work from scratch, but simply identified the problem, so it's unclear what the point was of mentioning that person's fee. 

You're free to complain about the accountant's mistake to any professional organizations that may accept such complaints, and it'd be a good faith issue for him to at least reduce his charge by $85 that it took to have someone look over the return, but he's free to come after you for the money you owe if you refuse to pay.  I'd make sure any contract doesn't mention the topic of attorney fees, otherwise it will be foolish of you to refuse to pay him if he'll engage the services of an attorney to come after you.  (In other words, you could wind up in the hole and owe far more than the mistake's difference in tax liability.)

It isn't unlawful harassment to pester you for dough owed; you're free to consider it as such if you like, but it isn't (even if you've told him to stop).  Unwelcome doesn't mean unlawful.

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It depends on the terms of the contract, of course. However, I think it's reasonably implied by any contract to have a return prepared that the return be accurate. Your problem is that the measure of damages for the breach is not what you think it is. You contracted with him presumably to get an accurate return prepared for $500. Assuming that the second accountant did it right (and just because he came up with a refund doesn't mean that he got it right, by the way, though of course that outcome is more attractive), then you paid $585 to get an accurate return. He's still entitled to be paid for the work he did, but you are entitled to get the bargain you struck, i.e. an accurate return for $500. Thus, I think the first accountant would still get a judgment against you for $415, which would give you the deal you struck, but not leave him totally uncompensated for the work he did. You might want to see if he will accept that as settlement of his fee. 

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