Does my accountant have to give me a copy of a past tax return?
April 26, 2012 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Is my accountant obliged to give me a copy of a past business tax return if requested?

I need to get copies of some tax returns (USA) from the past few years for my business (variable partnership). I've requested them from my accountant (who used to work for a large firm but has been independent since 2008) but it is like pulling teeth. He has been stonewalling me and taking his time.

Why didn't I have them anyway when I signed them? I used to be in a relationship and it was my SO at the time who signed the tax returns, not me. We are no longer speaking or on good terms.

Does anyone in the know have any advice for me on what to do?
posted by teedee2000 to Work & Money (5 answers total)
I don't know if your accountant is obligated to give you a copy of your past tax return, but it strikes me as odd that he would not.

Would it be possible for you to contact the tax agency in question and get a copy of your return? Assuming it is the IRS you are talking about, you could file a Form 4506 and request a copy of your return. Unfortunately it costs $57 for each return you request this way. If you file on Form 4506-T you could get free transcripts of your account for specific tax periods. You'd have the numbers, but an actual copy of your return for that tax period.
posted by Rob Rockets at 6:00 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

How long has this been going on? I know that my accountant is still digging out from the April 15th tax filing deadline. If you started asking at the end of March I'd cut the guy some slack for giving his attention to current business.

If he's still being unresponsive in mid-May it might be worthwhile to have a lawyer send him a letter.
posted by alms at 6:01 PM on April 26, 2012

Last sentence should be "You'd have the numbers, but NOT an actual copy of your return for that tax period." Sorry.
posted by Rob Rockets at 6:01 PM on April 26, 2012

The accountant should certainly give you copies of your returns. This page seems to indicate that he's required to provide a copy to the person he had a relationship with, but any reasonable accountant should do it without grumbling (possibly with a fee).

Be insistent, and when you get your returns go find another CPA. Sheesh.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:09 PM on April 26, 2012

He's not obliged to give you anything unless you pay for it, which I'm assuming is the issue?
posted by lalala1234 at 5:24 AM on April 27, 2012

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