I'm having a problem with my CPA. He was supposed to file my 2014 tax return by the October 15 extension deadline, but he couldn't get to it in time (he said I wouldn't be penalized if he missed the deadline since I am due to receive a refund). Then I talked to him at the beginning of this month and he said he finished my return and would file it, but it's 2 weeks later now and he still hasn't filed it yet.

A page on the IRS web site says that:

If you fail to file, we may file a substitute return for you.

Does anyone know how much time the IRS gives you once the filing deadline has passed before they file a substitute return for you? I want to know how much more time I should give my CPA before I try to file the return myself.

2 Answers 2


Once you file your return it will supersede the substitute, so don't worry about it.

However, as I've mentioned before in your other questions, it is you who should be filing stuff, not your CPA. If your CPA doesn't finish your return on time - you should fire him and get a new one. "You won't be penalized" is not an excuse for not doing his job, even if accidentally it is true.

If the return is ready, you should go to the CPA, take it (make sure he signs as the paid preparer), and mail it to the IRS (use USPS certified mail). Otherwise, have the CPA e-file it for you, which he's supposed to do as soon as possible after the return is complete and accepted by you (i.e.: after you signed the e-file authorization).

You can report preparer misconduct to the IRS, and since he's a CPA - you can also report his unprofessional behavior to the State Bar (or whatever the organization that regulates accountants is called in your State) and the AICPA.


SFRs - substitute for return - rarely happen in less than one year. The IRS will also try to contact you by mail first. Moreover, it usually happens to multiple years, not just a single year. I agree with the previous post - once you file your own, the IRS no longer uses the SFR.

In short, the SFR is to get you to file your own taxes by creating a return with no deductions - if you are married, you are filed as single or MFS, if you have 12 children, you get none, etc.

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