Ask a Business Lawyer. Get Business Law Questions Answered ASAP.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. I encourage you to ask me for clarification, if you are not clear with my Answer.
Question: Our business paid an individual a $2500 retainer up front to prepare our taxes. About a month ago when we started to inquire about the status of the return (with the Oct. 15 extension around the corner) we then realized that he hadn't done any of the work. He had no Quickbooks file for us, no spreadsheets, nothing. He claimed he couldn't complete the task because of "our failure" to provide necessary documents- which is not true, and refused to return the retainer (not to mention the thousands of dollars in tax penalties we are now facing). He is not a CPA (we later found out). So- is it legal to say you will file someone's taxes and then not do so?
Response 1: No, it is not. That would amount to fraud and receiving money under false pretenses.
and do you think we'd have a good shot in court?
Response 2: Yes, you do, but first thing first. Get a CPA to prepare your taxes and to stop the penalties and interests from accruing. Report this CPA to your District Attorney's Office. Lastly, get a consumer lawyer to file lawsuit against him to recover the retainer and for all the penalties and interests you have now incurred as a result of his failure to file the tax returns. Click on the link below to find local consumer lawyers:
What do you mean by this: "Report this CPA to your District Attorney's Office" Our new CPA?
Response 1: The person who took your deposit and did not do anything.
We hired a new firm to catch us up. What are the requirements a person must have to get paid to prepare taxes?
Response 2: There is no set requirement. However, if a person is holding himself out to be a CPA when he is not, it is fraud.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).