I had a Certified Public Accountant file late returns for 2012, 2013 and 2014, stating I would get money. But IRS says they were filed too late. The CPA charged me $580 to file late returns. He said I would get $1,840 back. Now IRS says in a mail that there will be no refund or a forfeit. The CPA is now unresponsive. What should I do?

  • What tax years were filed?
    – Hart CO
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 21:10
  • 3
    still laughing?
    – user87649
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 21:16
  • 4
    You should be able to sue his pants off. This is either extraordinary dumbness or intentional cheat from him.
    – Aganju
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 22:36
  • 16
    Are you sure they were actually a real CPA? Understanding the penalties and advantages of filing late/missing tax returns is way below the bar of the minimum a CPA should be expected to know about taxes.You could look to file a complaint with CPA-governing bodies: cpaverify.org/file-a-complaint No guarantee you'll get any money back, though, so I wouldn't count on it.
    – BrianH
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 0:00
  • 3
    Are you certain your CPA actually said you will get those refunds, or maybe said you would have gotten those refunds had you filed on time?
    – asgallant
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 20:13

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately after 3-years you forfeit your refund. This means the last chance to get a refund for your 2014 return would have been Tuesday, April 17, 2018 (October 2018 if you filed for an extension).

This sounds like tax-preparer fraud, could be worth filing a complaint via Form 14157

Edit: As @MarkOmo pointed out it looks like 14157 is the proper form for the preparer complaint.

  • 38
    I can’t help but wonder if the guy actually was a CPA. What CPA would take such a risk (of being accused of malpractice) for the sake of $500? Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 21:39
  • 18
    Not to start a panic, but if the guy wasn't a CPA, this could have been an elaborate identity theft scheme. Your tax return has all the information a thief could want: name, address, SSN, DOB, possibly close relatives' names, ...
    – shoover
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 15:17
  • 2
    If you're going to file a complaint, file one with both the IRS and with whichever entity licenses CPAs in your state. If laws were broken you want to be sure that the appropriate jurisdiction is aware, don't assume they'll communicate with each other automatically.
    – bta
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 18:19

If it was a mistake/oversight on his part, this is what he has liability insurance for.

Fraud, no. What would he gain? And why?

He has insurance to cover these types of mistakes. He deals with financial instruments, and error can happen and be costly. He likely has either a liability policy which covers injuries including financial damages. It would fall under negligence.

Or he may have an E&O Errors and Omissions Policy

  • 13
    Well, he would gain $580, obviously.
    – Demonblack
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 16:12
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    "The CPA is now unresponsive". The only damage was his fee, it's not as if his actions caused harm, per se, only that they were pointless. The 3 year rule is not some obscure bit buried deep in the tax code, it's basic knowledge. If the mistake were 100% honest, I'm still a bit scared a pro (?) would do this. Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 18:09
  • This answer doesn't address the question ("What should I do?") directly, though it sort of implies going after the CPA or the CPA's insurers. Could you edit it to make that clearer, particularly given that the CPA is unresponsive? Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 9:22

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