Accountant breach of confidentiality
September 2, 2005 9:43 AM   Subscribe

What do you do when your (ex) accountant has breached confidentiality? Is there a place you can report them?

Last year, my old accountant told my ex-wife some things about my tax status. I asked her not to do that anymore, especially with my ex.
This year, I changed accountants, and when she called recently, I bullshitted about bundling my taxes with my wife. Amazingly, my ex emails me and says that the accountant (her accountant too) told her that I'm starting a new business (!).
I left her a message saying, again, that my tax information is private, but now I'm wondering about doing more. Can I report her? Has anyone else had this problem?
posted by asavage to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Contact a lawyer first. What country are you in? What city?

I'd confront your accountant and find out why she's breaching confidentiality.
posted by bshort at 9:48 AM on September 2, 2005

If she is a CPA, you can complain to the state licensing board. I'm guessing you're in CA, so here is the link.

I like your show, btw.
posted by probablysteve at 9:57 AM on September 2, 2005

Is this the old accountant that continues to breach your privacy, or a new one who does the same?
posted by fionab at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2005

Response by poster: Sorry, only the old accountant, the one I share with my ex, has breached confidentiality.
posted by asavage at 10:05 AM on September 2, 2005

In addition to your state accountancy board (Common complaints - Disclosure of Confidential Client Information), you can file an ethics complaint with the state CPA society (Rule 301—Confidential client information).
posted by milkrate at 10:21 AM on September 2, 2005

ot/ that has to be the coolest book stand I have ever seen :-)
posted by ceri richard at 10:31 AM on September 2, 2005

(I was a little confused by the wording, too. Just to parse it clearly: Asavage and his ex-wife used the same accountant. That accountant told Asavage's ex-wife something about Asavage's tax status. He asked the accountant not to do that again. He changed accountants. Shortly thereafter, his ex-wife emailed him revealing she is privy to some of his more recent personal tax information.

Aside: in order to avoid hurting the old accountant's feelings, Asavage told the old accountant that the reason for the change was that he was bundling taxes with his current wife.)
posted by rafter at 10:34 AM on September 2, 2005

Keep in mind that, in some states, there is no statute that provides for confidentiality of financial information provided to an accountant. That refers solely to the legal requirements, not to the ethics of the profession.
posted by yclipse at 8:29 PM on September 2, 2005

Response by poster: Apologies to all for my confusing wording. Thanks for the compliments regarding the bookstand and the show.
Thanks for the good info.
I love askmefi!
posted by asavage at 9:51 PM on September 2, 2005

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