Many people choose to retain the services of an accountant to help them prepare their taxes. Accountants may identify potential deductions and credits that you can claim on your tax return and often will fill out your return for you, handing over the completed document for you to review and sign. Of course, you’ve hired an accountant because you don’t understand the complexities of the tax laws, so you trust your accountant’s advice and work. However, you may later be surprised with a notice from state or federal tax authorities telling you that you’re being subjected to an audit, or imposing an assessment for additional taxes along with fees and penalties. If your accountant’s bad advice or work may have led to your tax troubles, what are your legal rights and options? Continue reading to learn more about filing a claim against your accountant in New Jersey.

Read more: What Is Professional Malpractice?

Consequences for Errors on Your Tax Return

Unfortunately, even if your accountant makes a mistake in preparing and filing your taxes, any assessed additional tax, fees, penalties, and fines are going to be your responsibility since the law makes it your responsibility to file a timely and correct return. If there are problems with your tax return, you’ll need to have them corrected and to pay the government any additional tax and assessed penalties.

Filing a Malpractice Complaint Against Your Accountant

However, if the errors in your tax return were caused by bad advice from your accountant or by mistakes made by your accountant in preparing your return, you may be entitled to file a claim for professional malpractice against your accountant. Just like doctors and lawyers, professionals such as accountants are held to a standard of care in rendering services to their clients. If you can prevail in a malpractice claim against your accountant, you may be able to recover compensation for expenses that you incurred in correcting your tax return and for the fines, penalties, and interest you had to pay on any additional tax you owed. 

In order to succeed in an accountant malpractice claim, you’ll need to prove several elements, including:

  • That you had a client relationship with the accountant, or in other words, that you hired them to perform a service that you now claim they did negligently.
  • That the accountant purposely or negligently violated the applicable standard of care in some way, such as failing to follow generally accepted accounting practices, or committing some act or omission that other accountants of similar training and skill would not have done in handling your case.
  • That the accountant’s actions or omissions were directly and proximately responsible for causing you to incur some sort of financial damage or loss, such as having to pay another professional to correct your tax returns, or having to pay fines, fees, or interest on additional tax you owed (you won’t be able to collect the additional tax you had to pay since you owed that money by law).

A Tax Attorney Can Help If Your Accountant Provided Bad Tax Advice

If you believe that your accountant may have committed malpractice in handling your taxes, you should speak to an experienced attorney about your case and to learn more about your legal rights and options for holding your accountant responsible for any financial losses you may have incurred.

Contact An Accounting Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Case in New Jersey

Have you suffered losses or damages due to accounting malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced accounting malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Rochelle Park accounting malpractice attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm, P.A. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent accountants and tax professionals throughout New Jersey, including Englewood, Fair Lawn, Fort Lee, and Garfield. Call us today at 201-231-7847 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 340 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.