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I had a bad experience with my accountant this year. Normally things have gone smoothly enough. But this year was complicated, and I didn't help myself by doing some stuff (not relevant here) to make the return even more so.

However, in my dealings with him this year, my accountant was rude, borderline abusive, and seemed incredibly disorganized when he called me in for a second appointment to clear up some questions about the paperwork. I really don't want to return to him again but have these concerns:

  1. Do I need anything from him regarding my past returns that I would need to provide to a new accountant? Something that would require me to go ask him for it?

  2. Is there any way I can double-check the return he is filing, to get any sense of whether anything is wrong in it? I realize the barn door is already open - they have e-filed and I have sent in my tax payments (no refund for reasons alluded to above). He and his assistant muttered something like "you will get an IRS notice" when they were puzzling over how to handle that complicated tax item. That scared me, but I did not feel I could say anything because I understand even less of the issue.

Anyway, I realize I probably made several mistakes and would be happy to hear about how I can be a better tax client, but as the title indicates, my main concern is how I can switch to someone better with a minimum of headaches.

Thanks for any help.

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I've been through a similar experience. Consider the following:

  1. Since you've done so much prep this year with the current CPA, stick with him for your 2014 taxes. Keep the relationship as amicable as possible.

  2. Pay him for his work and make sure you get all your forms and paperwork back from him. If he still has paperwork from previous years, ask for those files, too. You really just need a copy of all your tax returns and any supporting documents (W2, 1099, investment documents, etc) that were in his possession.

  3. Get a new accountant for next year. Take your time and get a good recommendation.

  4. Show your new accountant your 2014 return and ask him to review it -- it's something he or she will have to do for your 2015 taxes anyway. Get a second opinion on how it was prepared.

You can always file an amended 2014 return if there was a significant problem.

Related anecdote: In my case, my concerns were valid and my previous accountant made several mistakes. I had to refile two years as a result. I ended up taking him to small claims court to recoup my costs of refiling with a new accountant (and won, yay!). This was an extreme case, though, so don't let that scare you. Refiling was painless and my new accountant rocks.

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