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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5358
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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Leon I had a dispute with my accountants after I had signed

Customer Question

Hi Leon
I had a dispute with my accountants after I had signed an agreement for them to finalise my tax. I was confused with what they were talking about. As it played out their accounts / finance department asked me would I like to enter into another finance agreement to pay for this. I e-mailed them stating I did not want them to do the work and I would not be engaging there services again. However they went ahead with the work and are now threatening to ruin my credit rating. They are also withholding all my financials until they get money. I urgently need the financials so I can engage new accountants. Not sure where to go from here.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Can you elaborate on why you signed an agreement for them to finalize your taxes if you didn't want them to do the work?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Because they were my current accountants at the time. When I stopped using them I had a personal tax fine of $9000 because I had failed to submit a form. When I asked the accountants questions about this it took 60 days for them to respond. That is why I needed to get rid of them because I feel they didn't have me or my businesses best interest in mind. After this I clearly stated I couldn't move forward with them. They went ahead without my permission. I have e-mails to back this up.
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

If you have email evidence that you instructed them not to proceed with work and they did it anyway and are charging you for it then likely you can legally challenge their claim for fees and their withholding of your financial information.

If you cannot secure their agreement to release the financial information or reduce their fee claim you will have the option of bringing a claim in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) which you can read about here:

http://www.ncat.nsw.gov.au/Pages/apply_to_ncat/apply_to_ncat.aspx

This is a cheap and effective way to deal with consumer disputes of this sort and is consumer friendly alternative to court.

Depending on where your accountant has his qualifcations, you could also make a complaint to CPA Australia or The Institute of Chartered Accountants, links to which are here:

http://www.charteredaccountants.com.au/search-results.aspx?keywords=disputes

http://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/about-us/member-conduct-and-discipline/fee-disputes

Whilst these organisations do not deal with disputes regarding fees, they may be able to assist in dealing with accessing your financial records.

I trust the above assists.

Please rate my answer.

Patrick