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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Yes, you could certainly have a claim against the firm and the accountant that engaged in this fraudulent behavior, if you can show "proximate cause" (that is, the reason that you have this liability is solely due to the negligent / intentional actions of this accountant): “In Maryland, in order to establish a cause of action for negligence, a plaintiff must prove: a duty owed to the plaintiff or to a class of which the plaintiff is a part; a breach of that duty; a causal relationship between the breach and the harm; and damages suffered.” Walpert Smullian & Blumenthal, P.A. v. Katz, 361 Md. 645, 655, 762 A.2d 582, 587 (2000). “Professional malpractice is one genre of negligence. . . . [P]laintiff must prove that defendant, whether a physician, lawyer, architect, accountant, or pension administrator, breached the standard of care applicable to other like professionals similarly situated.” Shofer, 124 Md. App. at 529, 723 A.2d at 487. See MPJI‐CV 27:9 (Maryland Model Jury Instruction (4th ed.) at 719) (“A [professional] is negligent if he or she does not use that degree of care and skill that a reasonably competent professional person acting in similar circumstances, would use.”). In professional malpractice cases, expert testimony on the standard of care is required where the standard is not obvious to the layperson, although if you can show a clear, unambiguous series of actions that was clearly fraudulent, and that your damages necessarily relate to those actions, and you would not have that liability but for those actions, then you can certainly win a case.
That being said, you need to contact an attorney in your area that deals with accounting malpractice cases. Go to www.lawyers.com or www.legalmatch.com to find an attorney in your area. You should be able to find one that will give you a free initial consultation and better advise you of your rights, any problems with your case, likelihood of success, how courts are treating cases such as yours in your area, and what you should do next.
You can also file a complaint against the accountant / firm:
Filing a complaint means that the actions of the accountant will be investigated, and sanctions can be imposed, as well as the accountant having his/her license revoked.
In addition to this, we received a letter from the IRS this weekend stating that the 2011 taxes were nevere filed. ????
If it was up to the accountant to do so, then you could have another claim against that accountant.
Now that being said, it does not relieve you of liability to the IRS... It can be used to get you extensions, or the ability to file for modifications, etc... but your direct claim will be against the accountant, and any damages that you incur with the IRS will be the liability of this accountant (if the other elements of negligence can be met, which it sounds like you have a pretty strong case)
Thank you. It has obviously been a very stressful situation.
No doubt about it, and I do wish you the best of luck in this situation.
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