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I have an accountant who is also a lawyer who did my taxes for about 7 years. I received a notice from the IRS for the years that he filed the taxes saying that I owed $5,000. I sent him the notice and could not get him to respond. I called him multiple times, his office confirmed he received it but I could not get a call back from him. I did not get any more notices, so I figured that it was a collection agency and he took care of it. I later found out that was not a collection agency, it's a law firm that works with the IRS to attempt to settle disputes. And they only send you a yearly notice.

Now I have received another notice that I owe $17,000 and they are going to continue to add fees and multiply this. I have again attempted to call him and call him and call him and I have received no response. He has done this before with other things, and I know from other people he tends to put things off and procrastinate. Whenever we have truly truly hit the point that Armageddon was going to happen, he would swoop in and take care of it but I can't wait any longer for this. At this rate if I do truly owe anything I'm going to owe a mortgage by the time he gets around to it.

Is there some governing Authority that I can report him to to put him in gear? Is there some way that I can talk to someone at the IRS that will either directly contact him or help me in some way? The lawyers that sent me the notice we're not really of much help in that capacity.

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    Please clarify if you have confirmed directly with the IRS that these notices are genuine. You say "received a notice from the IRS" but then you say it came from a law firm. First issue is whether this could be a scam. You'd think your accountant/lawyer would advise you on this when you sent him the info, but he's apparently not doing anything for you. – nanoman Mar 11 at 21:33
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    Can you clarify how much longer the second notice? Since you say they are annual, did this happen a year later? – user73687 Mar 12 at 1:00
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    I don't get why the IRS would start multiplying the fees instead of just beginning to collect. That doesn't sound right to me. I thought the IRS could act a lot more direct than just escalating the amount you owe. – JMac Mar 12 at 11:18
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    Did you try going by his office in person? – Mason Wheeler Mar 12 at 14:25
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    @M.Gio Have you checked with the IRS directly, via their phone support or at irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account? In my experience, the IRS does not wait a year between notices. – ceejayoz Mar 12 at 16:43
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This sounds like a scam. The IRS sends notices of amounts due, they don't enlist 3rd party services for that. The IRS does make use of 4 different 3rd party collection agencies:

CBE - P.O. Box 2217 Waterloo, IA 50704; 1-800-910-5837
ConServe - P.O. Box 307 Fairport, NY 14450-0307 1-844-853-4875
Performant - P.O. Box 9045 Pleasanton CA 94566-9045 1-844-807-9367
Pioneer - PO Box 500 Horseheads, NY 14845 1-800-448-3531

However, they state:

Even with private debt collection, you shouldn’t receive unexpected phone calls from the IRS demanding payment. When people owe tax, the IRS always sends several collection notices through the mail before making phone calls.

Payment of taxes/penalties are done via checks to the US Treasury or online at IRS.gov, any scam will request payment to a different entity. Make sure this is not a scam first.

The governing authority for tax-preparers is the IRS. You can submit a complaint via Form 14157, but that won't do anything to help you get the current issue resolved. If this is not a scam, you need a competent tax-preparer. Take the letters and your tax documents to someone else. Likely your agreement with your current preparer limits their liability to fees paid, and probably doesn't require them to help with follow-up IRS inquiries for free. If they are holding onto your tax documents or you feel strongly that they should be the ones to correct any mistakes made on prior returns, then go to the office and make a fuss. Emails/calls are much easier to ignore than an angry customer in your office.

PS - Even if this is a scam that requires no further attention, find yourself a new tax-preparer, yes, it is busy-season for them, but that's not an excuse for ignoring repeated calls from a long-term client.

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    Definitely find a new one. No way I'd put up with this behavior regularily for 7 years, especially if I started getting $5000-$17000 notices (ignoring the fact that it's a scam) and my accountant was ignoring me, assuming they're given a reasonable time to respond. "Procrastination" is not a good quality to have in a lawyer/accountant... – Broots Waymb Mar 12 at 12:52
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The first thing to do is verify that this is not a scam and that you really do owe the IRS money. Contact them.

If the debt is legitimate and you can't get your lawyer to respond, contact the authorities. Contact the local bar association to see what recourse is available in your state:

Every state has an agency responsible for licensing and disciplinary actions due to a lawyer's malfeasance. Some of these agencies are notoriously slow.

Contact the Chief Disciplinary Counsel (CDC) in your area. One of the issues in their domain is a lawyer who does not respond to client phone calls, emails, or letters.

Another possibility is to see another attorney and get a second opinion. Second opinions are usually fairly inexpensive. As a last resort, you may have to sue your lawyer.

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If your agreement with the accountant/lawyer included a promise that he would assist in handling subsequent IRS assessments, then you could pursue him in court for breach of contract. But this would likely be expensive and take a long time. It may be more realistic to proceed as you would if his practice had gone bankrupt and shut down. That is, get a new accountant/lawyer ASAP.

If you are in need of documents that the previous one has (lesson: always keep your own copies), note that you can get copies of past tax returns directly from the IRS. If it's other documents like receipts, you could send a strongly worded letter to the unresponsive office that you want to be sent your existing tax records immediately so you can seek other advice. The office may well comply to get you off the guy's plate if he is unable to handle it.

  • I have copies of the taxes that he prepared. However, he prepared them and needs to present the deductions that he took and the way that he prepared them. Knowing that he procrastinated like he did he may have pushed them off and not filed them for several years and possibly that's the problem? I don't know but I need this to be solved. Since it was not a legal matter it was an accounting matter, can I report him to the state supreme court that governs lawyers? – M. Gio Mar 12 at 13:49

protected by JTP - Apologise to Monica Mar 12 at 0:45

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