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Handling a tax preparer's mistake in a return

Any time, you get a letter from the IRS, your heart skips a beat. You guess that the tax agency rarely contacts individuals with good news. Now, you’ve just received a letter noting you owe thousands more in taxes from last year. Yet you had a tax preparer complete your return. What should you do?

Dealing with a mistake on a return

First, you should know that the IRS often sends a notice if it detects incorrect information on your return. If your W-2 information or 1099 earnings don’t match up with what companies you earned money from have reported, you can receive a notice.

If a tax preparer made a mistake on your return, you may need your tax information reviewed by another professional. You may want to consult a tax law attorney if the IRS is now claiming you owe thousands more and you are unsure of where there’s a mistake in your return.

You also can have a tax law attorney review your contract with your tax preparer, to see if you can get some sort of refund for the preparation of your return or if they will pay for the interest on the amount you owe.

Setting up a payment schedule

If you do discover you do indeed owe the IRS money because of a mistake made on your return, you do need to pay what you owe. An experienced tax attorney can help you negotiate a payment schedule. You want to resolve any outstanding tax bill as soon as you can. You may have to pay interest on any money you owe and that will add up if you delay in resolving the matter.

Filing a complaint

If you and your tax attorney feel that you should file a formal complaint against your tax preparer, you can help keep them accountable to process returns correctly. You can file a Better Business Bureau complaint or make a complaint with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or Association of Enrolled Agents if the preparer is part of those organizations.  

Filing tax returns is complicated. Even professional tax preparers can make mistakes, especially if they are filing hundreds of last-minute returns. By working with a tax attorney, you can ensure you only pay what you truly owe and your IRS matter is resolved as quickly as possible.

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